Local Dems threaten Sen. Maria Sachs with primary

It started with a simple campaign button, but it kicked up a sizeable political stink.

Bill Weg, a member of the Delray Beach Democratic Club, didn’t realize he was courting controversy by wearing a “Maria Sachs for Senate” button to the club’s Dec. 21 meeting, until he was angrily approached by Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chair Mark Alan Siegel.

Sachs, a Democrat, was elected to Senate District 30 without opposition in 2010.

According to Weg, Siegel started poking his Sachs’ button while launching into an “angry monologue” about Sachs voting with Republicans in Tallahassee on the first redistricting vote.

“You better let Maria know her failure to toe the party line on redistricting has ramifications,” Siegel told Weg. “I don’t want to see a war, but we’ve got Kevin Rader and Jeff Clemens to run against her if she doesn’t do the right thing. Make sure she gets the message. I don’t want to see a primary.”

While Weg characterized the conversation as a threat, Siegel denied that assessment, adding that as the party’s local chair, “he’s in the business of predictions.”

“If Sachs doesn’t vote with the Democrats on redistricting, I wouldn’t be surprised if she faced a primary that included Rader or Clemens,” Siegel told me by phone Tuesday. “I would consider it a tragedy if a primary happened, but sometimes, tragedies happen.”

Rader, who is on vacation, said, “A lot of people want me to run against Sachs, but I haven’t made any decisions about running for office yet.”

When asked if Siegel was one of the people urging him to run against Sachs, Rader declined to comment.

Asked to comment, Sachs said: “We have insurance costs rising, education underfunded, and state revenues are down. I have a job to do, and I’ll leave the political games of running for a district, whose lines will be drawn by the courts, to others.”

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