Broward News

Ben Preston Elected as New Deerfield Beach Commissioner

Ben Preston, the first African-American firefighter in Deerfield Beach's history, has been chosen by voters through a special election as the city's newest commissioner.

According to unofficial results from the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, Preston has defeated former Commissioner Gloria Battle by 15 votes to become the District 2 commissioner for Deerfield Beach.

Preston replaces alleged public-record falsifier Sylvia Poitier, who was removed midterm as she faces five misdemeanor charges.

Unfortunately for Preston, if Poitier is acquitted from the crimes or the charges are dropped, he'll have to relinquish the seat back to Poitier.

The voter turnout wasn't exactly stellar.

Just 663 of the district's 8,639 voters turned out, or 7.67 percent.

The previous election didn't garner that many more votes -- just 762 -- but Preston was walloped then by Poitier by nearly 300 votes just a few months ago.

In yesterday's special election, though, Preston received 216 votes, ahead of Battle (201), Rev. Anthony L. Davis (163), Andre Samuels (79), and one write-in vote.

Preston has been a Deerfield Beach resident for 30 years, was hired as the city's first African-American firefighter in 1972 -- where he worked for 26 years before retiring -- has a master's degree from Florida International University, and has owned his own company, Preston Student Athlete Services, for 20 years.

He was one of just two of the candidates who've never been accused of shady dealings in the past, along with Samuels, although, as we've mentioned before, Davis was never formally accused of anything, and an investigation into Battle found no wrongdoing.

Deerfield Beach's two biggest bloggers, Chaz Stevens and David Cody -- who are often at odds with each other -- had differing opinions of Preston.

Cody, who had endorsed Samuels, said on his blog that Preston, along with Davis, "just have political rhetoric and platitudes."

Stevens wrote an open letter to Preston on his blog after a candidate forum, saying, "You look, think, and act the role. The City will be very well served with you representing District #2."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley