Candidates Enter the 2020 Tamarac City Commission Race

By: Anne Geggis

Along with the presidential race, it looks like voters will be seeing at least one Tamarac city commissioner facing a challenger during the 2020 election.

District 1 City Commissioner Marlon Bolton wasted even less time than President Donald Trump in declaring himself a candidate for reelection — beating him by almost a year.

Bolton, elected in 2016, filed papers for his reelection a year ago on July 3, 2018, and has drawn a challenger: Michelle Jones, a local chef, submitted her bid for the seat in January and so far has raised $2,645 in donations, according to her latest treasurer’s report filing. Commissioner Julie Fishman also filed for her 2020 reelection for the District 3 seat in May, however, at this time, she has no challenger.

Bolton says it’s not uncommon to get in the game as early as he did.

“It costs money to power an effective campaign, and I simply want to have enough cash on hand to defend the District 1 seat,” he wrote in an email. “Additionally, I have made a number of recommendations to improve District 1 and would like to see that to fruition.”

City records show no other incumbent has filed this early in the last two election cycles. Candidates must qualify in June of 2020 before they will be on the November ballot.

As to fundraising, it looks like Bolton is on track to outdo the $60,249 Mayor Michelle Gomez raised in her entire 2018 race.

His last campaign treasurer’s report filed June 11 says he’s raised $34,351 and Bolton said he’d raised more than $42,000 so far. That would have also included the proceeds from asking his friends to donate for his May 31, birthday. The website www.boltonbirthday.com is still up.

Bolton said he doesn’t know how much “happiness” he was wished on his 34th birthday for his reelection.

“I don’t get into the details of who is donating and when.  My focus is on serving the residents of District 1 and Tamarac as a whole daily,” he wrote in an email responding to questions.

His rival, Jones, said she’s not at all intimidated by his war chest dwarfing hers.

“In Coral Springs, one of the candidates raised something like $90,000, but the person who won had $30,000,” Jones said. “I think money helps but … I believe the people of Tamarac believe in loyalty.”

Coral Springs’ records show that Khurrum Wahid, who reported raising $90,482, lost to Shawn Cerra who raised $30,309 in the special election for City Commission Seat No. 2 on June 11.

The two rivals for District 1’s seat do know each other personally — Bolton was a tenant in her house about eight years ago, she said.

She attributed his early candidacy to the rumors that she would run. He would not comment on her, publicly.

“I guess he thinks so very highly of me,” she said of Bolton.

But Bolton said he’s taken to the job.

“I speak for people who otherwise cannot speak for themselves,” he wrote. “I [have] become a voice for those residents who feel that they cannot win at city hall.  I work for my residents, and I enjoy that.”

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Anne Geggis
Anne Geggis has been a newspaper reporter for 30 years, most recently at the Sun Sentinel. She graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., with a double major in journalism and sociology.