By Larry Barszewski

Nine candidates have qualified for Delray Beach’s March 19 municipal elections, with three each running for mayor and two other City Commission openings.

Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston has raised more than $110,000 in his bid to become mayor, far outpacing the other five candidates who have filed campaign treasurer reports through September, the latest period available. Not counting any personal loans to campaigns, Boylston has raised about $35,000 more than the five others combined.

The remaining three candidates opened their campaign accounts since September and won’t have to file a treasurer’s report until January.

“I can’t really take credit for raising the funds that I raised. I announced and checks started rolling in,” said Boylston, who announced in May. “I don’t refuse money.”

Boylston said he’s shooting for $150,000 to $200,000, which he said is typical for a mayoral campaign in the city. He said he’s not being bought.

“I have a voting record,” said Boylston, who founded 2TON, a creative marketing agency. “I’ve voted against my supporters as many times as I’ve voted with my supporters.”

Mayor
Boylston is in the race along with Shirley Johnson, who served six years on the commission before being term-limited this year, and Tom Carney, who served on the commission from 2011 to 2013, including a short stint as acting mayor.

Mayor Shelly Petrolia was term-limited from seeking re-election.

Through September, Boylston had raised $111,140, which included a $1,000 personal loan. Johnson, who retired from IBM, reported raising $23,690, but most of that — $20,000 — was a personal loan. Carney, an attorney, won’t have to file a campaign report until January.

Boylston reported 98 contributions of $1,000 each so far, the maximum amount an individual can contribute. More than 40 of those contributions were from outside Delray Beach.

By category, Boylston has received more than $18,000 from real estate professionals, at least $15,000 from contractors and other development-related businesses, at least $12,000 from hoteliers, restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses, and $5,000 from local car dealerships.

Boylston has also raised $3,860 from 66 contributions of $100 or less.

Seat 1
The current commissioner, Adam Frankel, is term-limited and is planning to run instead to be Palm Beach County’s next public defender.

The three candidates who qualified to run for the seat are James Chard, Tennille DeCoste and Thomas Markert.

Chard, a retired business executive, was elected to the commission in 2017, but served only a year when he resigned after an unsuccessful attempt to become mayor. DeCoste is a former human resources director for the city who now holds the same position in Boynton Beach. Markert is a market research industry executive who previously worked for AC Nielsen; he also served as a senior vice president at Office Depot.

DeCoste raised $27,490, which included a $500 personal loan, through September. Chard raised $20,117, partially funded by a $2,792 personal loan. Markert isn’t required to file a contributions report until January.

Seat 3
Looking to move into Boylston’s current commission seat is former Commissioner Juli Casale, along with Anneze Barthelemy and Nicholas Coppola.

Former Commissioner Christina Morrison, who was appointed to fill a short stint on the commission in 2013, had opened a campaign account to run for the seat, but in the end opted not to qualify. Morrison said she decided against running after Casale’s late entry into the race, saying she feared having too many candidates would split the vote and give

Casale a chance at returning to the commission.

Casale, an ally of Petrolia, served for three years beginning in 2020 before losing to newcomer Rob Long in March. With that election, the working commission majority switched from Petrolia, who had been aligned with Casale and Johnson on many key votes, to Boylston, Long and newly elected Commissioner Angela Burns, who replaced Johnson.

Coppola, a retired electrical contractor, held the early fundraising lead in the race with $39,370 — including a $20,000 loan from himself — through September. He is the chairman of the city’s Code Enforcement Board.

Barthelemy, who has 23 years of experience as a social worker, reported raising $10,708, which included a $1,300 loan.

Casale, a community activist who has also served on other city boards, does not have to file a campaign treasurer’s report until January.

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