Commissioner Keith James declares himself next Mayor of West Palm Beach

    Commissioner Keith James declares himself next Mayor of West Palm Beach (WPEC)

    One of the biggest races of the night played out in West Palm Beach as current Mayor Jeri Muoio is term-limited and can’t run for a third term.

    Three candidates vied to be the next mayor, including Commissioners Keith James and Paula Ryan, as well as former State Representative Priscilla Taylor.

    As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, CBS12 News and the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections had not called the race, although Commissioner James declared himself the winner earlier in the evening.

    About 100 to 150 supporters joined James at his watch party at the West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault on Evernia Street.

    “You have to roll up our sleeves and get to work finishing the projects that are on the books,” James said.

    James is a Harvard lawyer, served the commission for eight years and is a big supporter of current Mayor Jeri Muoio, both of whom endorsed him.

    “I think the voters have confidence in my experience,” he said. “As a commissioner, I’ve been on the commission for eight years. I have the relationship both internally and extra early and I have the motivation to get these things done.”

    James plans on focusing on issues of homelessness, public safety, affordable housing, infrastructure and the penny sales tax.

    “He has the confidence of the employees and you have to come in with the confidence of the employees,” Muoio said.

    Not to mention, the confidence of the people like Rafael Perez, who’s lived in the city for 25 years.

    “He’s open minded,” Perez said of James. “He’s got to do what he’s got to do to get this West Palm Beach going."

    Muoio leaves office on April 4.

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