Wexler Resignation Causes Political Domino Effect
With U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler leaving a solidly Democratic Broward-Palm Beach county congressional seat, a scramble ensued Wednesday among possible successors.
Boca Raton Sen. Ted Deutch wasn’t returning phone calls – but was said to be all-but-in the race according to South Florida Democrats. The remainder of the potential field was still weighing their chances.
“I’ll make up my mind by the weekend,” said Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat. “Jobs and the economy are my biggest issues, and this would be a really exciting opportunity to do something significant.
“I like working in Tallahassee,” he added. “But we’ll see.”
West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel also said she’s thinking about running.
“I’ve got to look at it from a lot of angles,” conceded Frankel, a former House Democratic leader. “I want to see what’s right for my community, talk to my family. And I have to decide what’s in my heart.”
Another potential contender: Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, who said she is considering the race. Former Broward County commissioner and state legislator Ben Graber says he'll be a candidate for the seat when Gov. Charlie Crist sets an election date.
Wexler is leaving Congress in January to head a Washington-based think tank promoting Middle East peace. Given Wexler's advanced notice, possible successors may have some time to mull over their candidacies.
Unlike the process for choosing a new senator, whereby the governor picks a successor to serve until the next election, Crist will set a date for a special election for the Wexler seat, though as of Wednesday afternoon, no date has been set, according to Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey.
Mitch Caesar, the Broward County Democratic chairman, said Wexler’s departure is bound to send out ripples through his county and neighboring Palm Beach – depending on how many current officeholders want a shot at Washington.
“This could clearly have an effect on many levels across the two counties,” Caesar said.