DeSantis Appoints Democrat to Head Dept of Highway Safety, Flips Palm Beach County Commission Red

DeSantis Appoints Democrat to Head Dept of Highway Safety, Flips Palm Beach County Commission Red

The Democrat taking the position opened up a spot on the PBC County Commission

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
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January 6, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has chosen to nominate Dave Kerner as the new Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). In doing so, Gov. DeSantis’s appointment of Kerner opened a position on the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. DeSantis appointed Michael Barnett to the position.

In September of last year, Kerner, a Democrat that once served in the Florida House of Representatives, endorsed DeSantis over Crist, stating, “Governor I’m very proud that you felt that my endorsement was worthy of acceptance, and I’m so delighted that we have this opportunity to be here in public, in the community, to make it official,” and also mentioned that “this was not a difficult choice for me…Governor DeSantis has demonstrated himself beyond worthy of the duties of this office. And he has done so with the level of dignity, purpose, and respect that is lost in the public sphere today.”

Kerner also served as a police officer and as a special prosecutor in Palm Beach County according to the DeSantis press release. He said his endorsement of DeSantis came at a time when there was “too much on the line” in the 2022 midterm elections.

With Barnett’s appointment, the Palm Beach County Commission has officially flipped from blue to red. Barnett is currently an attorney for Shiner Law Group. He is also Chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

This adds to the list of surprising flips of blue regions in Florida for Gov. DeSantis.

After losing Miami-Dade County by 20 points in 2018, DeSantis won Miami-Dade by 11 points in 2022. A 31-point flip in four years. And now, the Palm Beach County Commission is 4-3 in favor of Republicans.

DeSantis won Palm Beach County in 2022 by three points over Charlie Crist. He lost by 17 points in 2018 in that county.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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