WELLINGTON, Fla. — Democrats in Palm Beach County have elected a nominee whom they hope will become their newest commissioner.
Michelle Oyola McGovern was the apparent winner of a three-way race for District 6, covering a large portion of western Palm Beach County.
Michelle Oyola McGovern @momcgovern declares victory in democratic primary for Palm Beach County Commission District 6. McGovern gave her speech at a Wellington restaurant standing alongside incumbent Melissa McKinlay who has been vocal about her support. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/QP0APBJaEP— Michelle Quesada (@M_Quesada) August 24, 2022
The seat is currently held by Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who cannot run again because of term limits.
McGovern was one of two other Democratic candidates vying for the seat, but she had the backing of McKinlay to help propel her to the victory.
"It feels pretty incredible," McGovern told WPTV after proclaiming victory.
Once a top aide to former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., McGovern was joined by McKinlay, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and other supporters at a Wellington restaurant where she held her election watch party.
McGovern said she plans to continue working on issues pertaining to housing and affordability if she wins in November. She also hopes to offer a unique perspective as a Latina.
"District 6 is one of the most diverse districts in the county and, you know, Hispanics are the fast-growing demographic in Palm Beach County and my family's from Puerto Rico and I'm really proud to represent and looking forward to being that voice on the county Commission," McGovern said.
Matt Willhite, who has served in the Florida House since 2016, was a distant second Tuesday night in unofficial results provided by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, trailing by almost 4,000 votes with nearly all precincts reporting.
Sara Baxter, a former middle school science teacher, was unopposed in the Republican primary and will face McGovern in the November general election.
Sylvia Sharps, who also ran for Palm Beach County Commission in 2018 but lost in the Democratic primary, had fewer than 2,000 votes.