Special Interests Money Abounds in Miami-Dade D2 Campaign Reports

There’s a lot of money floating around in the Miami-Dade District 2 race, the cluster race with six candidates. And not everything is where you expect it to be.

Sure, Mayor of North Miami Philip Beloved is raking in with investors and property developers. He has close to $800,000 between his campaign account and his political action committee. But social worker extraordinary Marleine Bastienfounder and director of the nonprofit Family Action Network Movement, has the healthiest campaign count, without lending herself a penny and without the bunching that’s more evident in other candidates’ filings.

This indicates broad support from people who can actually vote for her.

Bastien said he raised $229,618 including $62,476, according to the latest campaign reports reflecting transactions through July 22. However, Ladra does not know if Bastien has a PAC. She did not complete the county form required from applicants who raise funds for CAPs.

Bien-Aime and two other candidates – former mayor of North Miami Joe Celestin and former principal of Miami Northwestern High Wallace Aristide — have filed forms for which they would raise funds or associated with the following PACs, which always have the best names: Progressive Advocates for Change for Bien-Aime, Floridians for strong families for Celestin and Miami-Dade District 2 United for Aristide.

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The mayor of North Miami, as Bien-Aime likes to remind on every occasion, brought in the most contributions between the PAC and the campaign account: $799,492. He has also already spent about half of it.

He brought in $175,992 to his campaign account – minus $50,000 he loaned himself, which is a lot of money for a guy who was facing foreclosure last year. The checks from the others include $5,000 from five Bilzin Sumberg lobbyists and at least a wad of $8,000 in eight checks from companies linked to The Related Group. He also has $3,000 and $4,000 consultants/lobbyists Barbara Hardemon and Miguel Prigueza former state representative, respectively.

But that’s nothing compared to Progressive Advocates for Change, which has reported more than $627,000 in contributions since March of last year. Major donors include an Israeli property investor Yoram Izhak (ojo: new player), who donated at least $47,000 through various companies, property manager Joseph Ehrmanwho donated $40,000, William Lehmanwho donated at least $20,000, as did the developer Michael Wohl.

He also spent nearly $400,000. About $70,000 came from his campaign account — including $45,000 in advertising and web development, $15,000 in canvassing and more than $6,300 in consulting — and $327,000 from the PAC, mostly in consulting and canvassing.

Bien-Aime’s spend is what Aristide, who is now principal at ITech magnet high, raised in total between his account campaign and his PAC. He has about $146,257 left. He spent more than $117,000 of the $187,000 in his campaign account — of which more than $17,000 was loaned to him — and $139,893 of the $216,150 in the PAC. More than $36,000 of Aristide’s expenses went to a consultant Christian Ulvert$27,000 to the consultant Estomene Dorcelya former school administrator, and $14,265 to a consultant Sarah Manzano.

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Campaign contributions came mostly from individuals, many of them teachers, with a few regular lobbyists and a few lump sums, like $10,000 from developer-owned businesses. Lewis Swezy$5,000 from companies owned by Izhak and $4,000 each from Florida East Coast Industries – and related companies.

To guess Jorge Perez and Izhak hedge their bets.

PAC got another $15,000 from FECI as well as $10,000 from Alan Potamkin$12,000 from Hector Ortiz and $5,000 from LSN Partners, the lobbying firm owned by Alex Heckler and Marcelo Llorente.

All the others are quite far behind. This includes Celestin, whose Floridians for Strong Families PAC is poor in comparison with only $72,914 in total, of which $35,568 is spent. His campaign account is poorer, with $26,340 spent out of $35,875 raised.

William Clark, a retired paramedic firefighter with lots of time in the community, raised $63,090 – in 554 checks. These are mostly small amounts, $20 to $200, from real people. Not everyone can vote for him, because about half of the addresses are outside the neighborhood. But it shows he has broad county support, which is a good thing.

He also had a few campaign meetings at Lorna’s Caribbean in Miami Gardens and it looks like Willis Howard just became his campaign consultant earlier this month for $5,000.

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And Monique Nicole Orge-Mayo did not raise more than $360 given to her by a relative so she could pay the eligibility fee. She’s a consultant for a small business and she can’t get any community support? This does not bode well.

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While fundraising isn’t always a perfect indicator of which candidate will win, it does provide candidates with more opportunities to get their messages across to targeted voters and get their name out there. It is also often a good indicator of what stakeholders think is strong.

Beloved the cae mal a todo el mundo because he is a little egocentric. But he has the most money to spread his message and his name. Aristide has also shown an ability to involve outside interests in the District 2 race.

Bastien, who has built a respectable grassroots campaign, may surprise with last-minute support from the establishment. Maybe there’s a progressive group with a PAC they can lend him.

But it’s not over yet. Candidates can fundraise up until a few days before the August 23 election and there is likely to be more money coming in.