By: Marisa Herman
When Delray Beach city government meetings resume, the commission will have a new face on board.
Juli Casale edged out incumbent Commissioner Bill Bathurst on election night as well as opponents Jennifer Jones and Debra Tendrich. Casale will fill Seat 2.
The winner was still unclear as election night ended, but with all but one precinct tallied, Casale came out on top by 120 votes.
“The odds were really stacked against me,” Casale said. “I am feeling amazing. It was hard work. I had a really for formidable opponent. He had much more financial backing than I and all the endorsements.”
Despite being a challenger with less money and endorsements, Casale said her determination to win helped her pull off the victory.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I think this win really represents the people who got out and voted. It shows that they want something different going forward. This was a victory for the residents.”
She said she hopes those who didn’t vote for her will give her the opportunity to show them that she is their commissioner, too.
Bathurst took to social media to congratulate Casale on her win, wish her luck in the position and thank his supporters. This was his first contested race. When he ran for his first term, he was elected unopposed.
Commissioner Shirley Johnson will return Seat 4. Johnson beat out her two challengers, Angela Burns and Chris Davey. Johnson received about 39 percent of the votes. Davey was second with 31 percent followed by Burns with 29 percent of the votes. Less people voted for Seat 4 than Seat 2.
“I am overjoyed that the residents of Delray Beach have chosen to allow me to serve them for an additional three years,” Johnson said. “I am overwhelmed by their generosity.”
She said to those who didn’t vote for her, her door is always open and she is willing to listen.
“I have always felt my votes were for the good of the entire city,” she said.
In addition to candidates, a charter change was also on the Delray ballot. The proposed change would allow the mayor and commissioners to receive a salary increase similar to how raises are done at higher levels of government. The charter change failed to pass.
With COVID-19 forcing many to stay home, election day brought some struggles on early. Before March 17 arrived, several polling sites were changed to protect seniors living in nursing or assisted living facilities from the voters entering.
On election day, poll workers did not show up to some Delray voting sites. Frustrated voters were turned away and told to pick up ballots from the supervisor of elections office.
Voters who did turn up to cast their ballots in person brought their own pens or wore gloves.