Scott Singer wins Boca Raton mayor’s race; a recount expected for other council seat
Scott Singer kept his ascent in Boca Raton politics going Tuesday, securing the mayoral seat in an election spurred by the prior mayor’s arrest on corruption charges.
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Singer beat back a challenge from a two-time mayoral candidate, Alfred "Al" Zucaro.
"I’m truly honored to be able to continue serving the residents of Boca Raton and so grateful for the overwhelming show of support for a positive vision of our city," Singer said.
Tuesday’s special city election came after Mayor Susan Haynie was jailed in April and suspended from office.
For the mayor’s race, voters chose from among Singer, 42, an attorney who slid into the mayor’s chair from his council seat because of his position as deputy mayor; Zucaro, 69, who lost a mayoral contest with Haynie last year; and Bernard Korn, a real estate agent who has never run for office.
Meanwhile, in the race for a council seat that Singer vacated, an automatic recount is expected.
As of 11:06 p.m. Tuesday, Kathryn "Kathy" Cottrell and Andy Thomson were exactly tied, each getting 7,872 votes, or 44 percent – but early Wednesday vote totals showed Thomson leading the race by a razor-thin three votes.
Cottrell, 60, is a semiretired consultant, and Thomson, 35, an attorney who lost his bid for a council seat last year.
Tamara McKee, 48, an actress and producer, ran a distant third in the race, getting nearly 12 percent of the vote.
Singer, who has served on the council since 2014, ran as a resident-friendly politician with concerns about a proposed development known as Midtown, which would put shops, restaurants and up to 2,500 apartments or condos off Military Trail near the Town Center mall. He voted against the development, but also had voted for other controversial developments, in the downtown and on the beach.
His message resonated, especially in the northwest part of the city.
"I’ve met Scott Singer," said Cheryl Seidel, 58, who runs an internet business and has lived in Boca for 31 years. "Scott Singer is middle of the road."
Singer’s firm vote against Midtown won over Diane Cooper, 65, a special education teacher who’s lived in Boca for 25 years.
"He is straightforward and he understands most of the issues," she said. "The whole Midtown thing is making me nuts – we want to keep Boca smaller."
Hanging in the balance with the expected recount: Cottrell’s election could mean bad news for groups that favor downtown development. Cottrell received the endorsement of Boca Councilwoman Andrea Levine O’Rourke, who is aligned with Councilwoman Monica Mayotte.
There are five members on the council. And together, Cottrell, O’Rourke and Mayotte could form a three-vote majority not endorsed by the development community – a first on the council in many years.
Voters cited Cottrell’s strong stand for preserving Boca’s beaches and neighborhoods.
"We don’t like what’s going on in downtown Boca Raton with all this crowding and construction," said Charlotte Andree, 77, who is retired from nursing, as she left a polling place on North Military Trail.
For Lori Planas, 62, a retired dental assistant, the choice was obvious.
"She is a Boca girl," Planas said, noting that her husband went to school with her.
Both Singer and the new council member will serve until 2020.
There is a possibility Singer could have to leave his seat before the term runs out in 2020, though.
Haynie could reclaim the mayor’s seat if she is acquitted of three counts of official misconduct, and single counts of perjury in an official proceeding, misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public office and failure to disclose a voting conflict. Charges filed against Haynie allege she didn’t disclose a conflict she had after taking money from developers and hid more than $335,000 in income.
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