PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Two Palm Beach County Commission seats previously held by Democrats were won by Republicans during Tuesday's election.
Some are calling this shift part of the "red wave" we've seen across the state.
Others said it's a result of what local voters learned during the pandemic.
Before Tuesday, the commission was made up of six Democrats and one Republican.
"It's time for grassroots," Wellington mother Kimberly Lopez said. "It's time to get away from big government."
Lopez volunteered to campaign for District 6 candidate Sara Baxter. She said what happened during the pandemic drew her to support Baxter, a small business owner fresh on the political scene.
"If COVID wasn't the time to get that message that small government matters, well, then you learned nothing," Lopez said.
The results of Baxter beating out long-standing community servant Michelle Oyola McGovern shocked local Democrats.
"In this instance, I do honestly believe that it was to the community's detriment," Rolando Chang Barrero, president of the Palm Beach County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, said. "I know a lot of people that are hurt."
Barrero feels McGovern's defeat and Commissioner Robert Weinroth losing his seat to Republican Marci Woodward was not for a lack of commitment to the community.
WPTV political analyst Brian Crowley agrees in part with that assessment.
"[Gov.] Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio, they brought out a lot of Republican voters in Palm Beach County," Crowley said. "As people are voting for them, they vote down the ballot, and this happens with both parties."
Boca Raton's Rachel Eade, who was part of a lawsuit that went after the county government for mask mandates in the summer of 2020, believes the pandemic changed perspectives across political parties.
"Seeing Palm Beach go red for the first time, in my opinion, puts a lot of people on notice that you're not going to win over the people that you think have been your safe vote for this long and people are watching," Eade said.
Chang Barrero is relieved District 2 did retain incumbent Commissioner Greg Weiss.
"Commissioner Weiss is a household word," Barrero said. "I don't even know a single Republican that doesn't know him and love him."
After Tuesday's election, the commission is now made up of four Democrats and three Republicans. Lopez is excited to see how the board will work together.
"Balancing the budget better than we ever have, I believe we have the balance and the right hands in there and the right experience now," Lopez said.