David Perez adds $65K days after winning SD 36 Democratic primary

David Perez SD 36

A political committee tied to David Perez, the Democratic nominee in Senate District 36, posted its best fundraising numbers to date for reporting period covering the last week of August.

Floridians for Change, chaired by attorney Mark Herron, reeled in $65,000 between Aug. 25 and Aug. 31, bringing its overall fundraising to $231,500 since it started accepting contributions in late June.

The haul came in across a half-dozen checks, with the International Association of Firefighters throwing in $25,000 to support Perez, a former firefighter and paramedic. A political committee tied to Fort Lauderdale Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer showed up at the same level, while committees linked to the United Teachers of Dade and Miami-Dade’s SEIU Local 1991 showed up with $5,000 contributions. The Latino Victory Project and Miami Airport Center Self Storage rounded out the set by giving $2,500 each.

The new money wasn’t offset by any expenditures, though Floridians for Change did report some heavy spending ahead of Perez’ primary showdown against Julian Santos, whom he defeated 54-46 percent in the two-way contest held last week.

The committee started September with more than $174,000 on hand.

When it comes to overall fundraising, Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. has Perez beat by a country mile. The two are much closer, however, when it comes to cash on hand heading into the general election.

As of Aug. 23, Diaz’ campaign account had raised $477,740 and had about $216,000 banked while his affiliated political committee, Better Florida Education, has raised $336,200 since the beginning of the 2018 election cycle and has about $62,000 at the ready.

Perez, ex-aide to former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, has raised about $92,500 in hard dollars including a $1,900 candidate loan. He had about $64,000 in his campaign account on Aug. 23.

Diaz has a combined war chest of $278,072, putting him $40,000 ahead of Perez’ $238,145 in available funds.

SD 36 is currently held by term-limited Republican Sen. Rene Garcia, who has endorsed Diaz as his successor. The district covers an inland portion of northern Miami-Dade County including Miami Lakes, Hialeah, and Miami Springs.

SD 36 is one of only two Republican-held seats being targeted by Florida Democrats this cycle that voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton two years ago, and it did so by a much wider margin than in Tampa-based SD 18, where House Minority Leader Janet Cruz is challenging Republican Sen. Dana Young.

Clinton won the majority Hispanic district by 14 points, though Garcia won re-election over underfunded Democratic challenger Anabella Grohoski Peralta 55-45 percent.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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