Three capable first-time Democrats are competing for South Broward’s House District 101, and the options for voters reflect the impressive depth of talent among local Democrats.
The candidates are attorney Hillary Cassel of Dania Beach, travel agency owner Todd Delmay of Hollywood, and Clay Miller of Hollywood, the legislative director for Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr. They were the best-prepared newcomers who met with the editorial board in this primary cycle.
The Sun Sentinel enthusiastically recommends Delmay, a civil rights champion and an environmentalist who has the most well-rounded background of the three. He accurately distilled much of what’s wrong with Tallahassee to seven words: “It doesn’t feel like the Legislature cares.”
Delmay, 50, and his husband, Jeff, were one of several gay couples who successfully challenged Florida’s ban on same-sex marriages in 2014 and the first from Broward to marry after a court victory. The couple has a 12-year-old son in public school. Delmay operates a travel agency and has worked in the trenches for a city ordinance to protect tree canopies, better health care for city employees and stronger anti-discrimination housing protections.
He also has worked as a citizen-lobbyist in Tallahassee for the past six years, and testified last spring against the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. He is one of the few Democrats running for the House who has the endorsement of the pro-business Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“I am a history-making, battle-tested candidate ready to serve my community,” Delmay said in his Sun Sentinel questionnaire.
Cassel, 41, is a self-described consumer advocate who has aggressively fought insurance companies in court, and as a result there’s “a target on my back,” she says. She has raised by far the most money, $ 234,000, and the vast majority of it is from lawyers, law firms and public adjusters. She also has loaned her effort of lei $ 50,000.
Delmay has raised much less, $ 128,000, but has hundreds of small-dollar donors who have given from $ 2 to $ 250. He has not created a soft-money political committee, and to his credit di lui, he has avoided personal negative attacks on his rivals.
Cassel founded the Florida Policyholders Cooperative, a statewide political committee largely funded by lawyers to stabilize a “broken” property insurance market. The committee gave money to Democrats and Republicans, including committees linked to Senate President Wilton Simpson, CFO Jimmy Patronis and House Speaker-designate Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast. She argues persuasively, but lawyers don’t suffer from a lack of access in the state Capitol.
Cassel said a Miller mailing falsely accused the PAC of donating money to Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Trump, but Miller said that because the committee funneled large sums to the state Republican Party and GOP-aligned committees, the destination of the donations is untraceable.
Cassel supports making the state insurance commissioner elected, not appointed, an idea with which we strongly disagree. It sounds appealing, but it failed because past commissioners were compromised by insurance industry campaign contributions. The post is now an appointee of the governor and Cabinet.
Miller, 28, a product of working-class Hollywood and South Broward High School, is politically astute with an eye for detail, and five years of county work has sharpened his policy skills and his ability to work across multiple layers of government.
This contest is a closed primary open only to Democratic voters because a Republican, Guy Silla, also qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot. Florida House members are elected to two-year terms at a salary of $ 29,697 a year.
Delmay would be an asset to the Democratic Party as a small business owner at the forefront of the fight for civil rights in the LGBTQ community. He’s not a left-wing ideologue and he strongly supports improving the K-12 education system. In the Democratic primary for House District 101, the Sun Sentinel recommends Todd Delmay.
Editorials are the opinion of the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board and written by one of its staff members. The Editorial Board consists of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson.