By Jane Smith
The Delray Beach mayor’s race is turning into a battle between the locals and the outsiders.
Shelly Petrolia, the incumbent, raised $91,697 as of Dec. 31. That amount includes $53,715.90 in self-loans. In December, 87% of her contributors had Delray Beach addresses.
In addition, Alan Mindel and his sister, Marlene, who built the Aloft Hotel in downtown Delray Beach, each donated $1,000 to Petrolia’s campaign.
Political newcomer Tracy Caruso raised $101,275 as of Dec. 31. That amount includes a $51,000 self-loan. In December, about 48% of her contributors had Delray Beach addresses.
Caruso, who is married to state Rep. Michael Caruso, received four $1,000 donations from political action committees that were not based in Delray Beach. The donors include Ethics and Honesty in Government of Coral Gables and the Palm Beach County Police Political Benevolent Association PC & Issues Fund in West Palm Beach.
For the two other commission races, none had the obvious difference in the Delray Beach addresses of donors as the mayoral candidates did in the December report.
Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston is facing a former commissioner he beat in 2018, Mitch Katz, for Seat 3.
Boylston raised $40,439 as of Dec. 31, including a $10,000 self-loan. His December donors gave a range of money from $3 to $1,000. Ten of his 139 donors gave $3 each, while 17 donated $1,000 each.
His big donors include five tied to the Opal Grand Resort, formerly the Marriott hotel, which faces the beach. In 2020, Boylston played a key role in getting the sea grapes trimmed to improve the views of the beach and the habitat of the dune.
Friend Lee Cohen, a personal injury attorney, donated $1,000 to Boylston in December. Boylston also received $1,000 from the county police political action committee.
Match Point, which runs the Delray Beach Open, gave his campaign $1,000. Boylston boasted of his negotiating prowess in ending the city’s lawsuit against Match Point. The city had sued to end a no-bid contract. The 2019 settlement resulted in Match Point’s continuing to run the tennis tournament.
His challenger, Katz, just entered the race in December. He raised $6,036, including a $500 self-loan.
His biggest donor was Ken MacNamee, who contributed $1,000. MacNamee is a retired bank executive and a prolific public records requester who is focused on how the city spends taxpayer dollars.
JoAnn Mower, retired health industry executive and wife of Sandy Zeller, who sits on the city’s Planning & Zoning Board, donated $500, as did Benita Goldstein, who runs a bed and breakfast in Delray Beach.
Price Patton, a veteran journalist, is running against incumbent Adam Frankel in the Seat 1 race.
Patton worked for more than two decades at The Palm Beach Post. He was a founding partner of The Coastal Star in 2008. He has taken a leave of absence.
In November, he started his campaign with a $10,000 personal loan.
Patton’s December contributors mirror those who donated to the Katz campaign, including MacNamee and Goldstein. Patton also received $1,000 from his wife, Carolyn.
Jestena Boughton, whose family owns the Colony Hotel in downtown Delray Beach, donated $1,000 to the Patton campaign.
Sandy Zeller donated $500 in November.
Incumbent Frankel raised $22,500 in December to bring his year-end total to $34,500. He did not lend his campaign any money.
Frankel’s contributors mirror those of Boylston. Five $1,000 contributors have ties to the Opal Grand Resort. Frankel also received $1,000 contributions from Match Point and the county police political action committee.
In addition, four firms tied to the O.G. bar on Southeast Second Avenue donated $1,000 each to Frankel’s campaign.
He also received $1,000 from Neil Schiller’s law firm. In the past year, Schiller has come before the commission or the city’s CRA for two Delray Beach property owners: the Doc’s Place owner and BH3 Management, which is trying to redevelop three blocks of West Atlantic Avenue and owns the Pour & Famous bar, which wanted to add an outside restaurant on West Atlantic.
The municipal election is set for March 9.
Commissioners decided on Jan. 12 not to hold early voting for city races. Because the county or state is not holding an election in March, it would have cost the city about $125,000 to host seven days of early voting, the city clerk said.
By Jane Smith