Campaigning in COVID-19 can have unexpected outcomes.

In Pompano Beach, Commissioner Barry Moss was defeated by a political newcomer. Moss, whose district covers the western section of Pompano Beach, lost by 131 votes to Cyndy Floyd. Moss, a gay man, had served on the commission since 2014. In unofficial tallies, he received 4,852 votes for 49%, compared to 4,983 votes (50%) for Floyd.

In a Facebook post, Moss, who also served as vice mayor, said the outcome was a surprise considering Floyd is somewhat of a mystery in District 5, which is home to the Palm Aire, a highly touted LGBT retirement community.

“My opponent is almost totally unknown in the district but has the blessing of a female last name,” Moss posted. “As I predicted before the election, when you have a very large turnout of low-information voters who don’t know who the candidates are very often a woman will vote for the name of an unknown woman over the name of an unknown man.”

Floyd, the Sun Sentinel reports, is a billing supervisor and Pompano Beach native. The 53-year-old Black woman is a mother of five children.

“I recognize why women want to break those glass ceilings,” Moss wrote. “That said, I wish my successor the best of luck in representing District 5. I am looking forward to having the time to travel and visit friends!”

Raised in Massachusetts, Moss worked in real estate in Washington, D.C. for many years before moving to South Florida where he made a home in Palm Aire. During informal gatherings at the district’s Herb Skolnick Center, pre-COVID, Moss would meet often with constituents and speak to gay groups. He spoke fondly of his time abroad in Portugal.

“You were and are more than a mere asset,” wrote David Corso of New Jersey in response to Commissioner Moss’ Facebook announcement. “Everything you do is done well and thought out. You will be missed…..BIG TIME!”

At this week’s virtual commission meeting, Pompano Beach Mayor Rex Hardin thanked Moss for his service.

“You’ve done an admirable job throughout the years, sir, and I look forward to your wisdom moving forward,” Hardin said.

Commissioner Beverly Perkins thanked Moss for standing up for Collier City, a historically Black neighborhood in District 5. 

Moss revealed at his final meeting that he had reservations about running for his fourth term because of the extremely rude behavior from some Pompano Beach residents. He said he feared future competent and qualified leaders would bypass Pompano Beach politics as a “three-ring circus” not worthy of involvement.

“It’s become worse recently,” Moss said, citing instances of routine rude behavior from people screaming at the commission, making death threats and allegations of corruption, racism and theft.

In a 2018 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, Pompano Beach had a population of 112,118. The northern Broward coastal city, Moss said, had made significant improvements during his tenure on the commission. In his final public remarks, Moss said it was his pleasure to see the city transform from “Pomp-a-No into Pomp-a-Now.”

“Things are finally coming together and it’s really exciting to see that happen,” Moss said. “Now that I am retired I will enjoy watching this city continue on the path to greatness and will be very proud to know that I had a small part to play in making Pompano Beach grow and prosper.”