Adjunct professor Andy Thomson steps away from politics following electoral defeat

Thomson, who lost the race for the 91st district of the Florida House of Representatives, will take a break from politics for the foreseeable future.

Elisabeth Gaffney, Staff Writer

Following his election defeat to Republican nominee Peggy Gossett-Seidman for a seat in District 91 of the Florida House of Representatives, Democratic nominee Andy Thomson is stepping away from politics indefinitely.

Thomson, an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University, was leading with 51% to Gossett-Seidman’s 49% during Election Day on Nov. 8. 

At the end of the day, Gossett-Seidman won the election with 52% of the vote to Thomson’s 48%. 

“Professor Thomson’s race was one of the few races I was keeping my eyes on Tuesday,” said Joao Brandao, political science major in Thomson’s Local and State Politics class. “Although the results weren’t what I was looking forward to, Mr. Thomson ran a phenomenal campaign, and I know that wherever he goes next, he’ll be amazing.”

Craig Agranoff, Thomson’s political strategist and adjunct professor at FAU, believes that once people voted for Gov. Ron DeSantis, an all-Republican selection followed.

According to presidential voting trends via Ballotpedia, statistics show the state of Florida voted Democratic 54.8% between 1900 and 2000. That number decreased to 33.3% from 2000 to 2020, with Republican votes now in the lead at 66.7%.

“I don’t feel we were running a race against another candidate, but a party,” said Agranoff.

Thomson said he spent a good amount of time focusing his campaign’s attention on independent voters because they are the middle ground between both parties in terms of persuasion. He believed his team did a great job of that.

“We didn’t have that kind of energy and enthusiasm from Democrats to get out and vote. Now, is that purely my fault? Maybe not, but it’s my job. If I want people to vote for me, it’s my job. I can’t delegate that to anybody else,” said Thomson.

Florida law requires city council members to resign if they run for a seat in state office. Thomson abided by this condition and is currently not serving on the Boca Raton City Council, which he has been part of since August 2018.

Thomson believes many politicians let their role in government take over their identity and he is no exception. He appreciates this time off to “reset” and rediscover himself after working in politics for so many years.

“I’m not on the city council anymore, but I do think that it’s a calling of mine. It’s certainly a passion of mine if not an actual calling, so I’m sure I’ll get involved in a race at some point in the future,” said Thomson. “I don’t know when — it’s a function of opportunity. It’s a function of timing.”

Thomson said he wants to make sure all of the people who trusted him with their time, resources and energy while volunteering were proud of the campaign they put together, regardless of the outcome. 

After hearing the official results, Thomson sent out an email on Nov. 9 to his campaign followers with the subject line: “Thank you, Boca.”

It was a message of gratitude for everyone who showed him support, including his family and those who endorsed the campaign.

“While I am disappointed with the results last night, I am encouraged by the enthusiasm I have seen across District 91 for the issues that unite us. I am proud of the campaign we ran and am extremely grateful for all the support I have received during this experience,” wrote Thomson.

Elisabeth Gaffney is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM her @elisabethgaff