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Group of South Florida lawmakers made (mostly) winning plays for Primary Election support

Several lawmakers with money to blow looked to tip the scales in several contested races.

Several South Florida lawmakers with money to spend made a series of mostly successful donations in contested primaries this cycle, according to an analysis of campaign donations listed with the Florida Division of Elections.

The money came from political committees tied to lawmakers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties who have already secured reelection to their respective seats or are secure enough in their money advantage heading into November.

Florida Politics reviewed donations made by political committees associated with Reps. Dan Daley, Nick Duran, Michael Gottlieb, Michael Grieco, David Silvers and Matt Willhite. Those six South Florida lawmakers have spent close to $50,000 so far this cycle on various campaigns, according to DOE records.

Grieco was the most generous of the cohort when it came to donating to fellow Democrats this cycle. Grieco’s political committee, Strong Leadership for South Florida, churned out $12,500 to help Democratic candidates.

Of that, $7,500 went to candidates competing in a Democratic primary. The remainder went to candidates prepping for the General Election.

Grieco donated $1,000 to Shevrin Jones and Javier Fernández, two of his House colleagues who are now pursuing Senate seats. Both successfully earned their respective Democratic nominations. Grieco also gave $1,000 to Rep. Dotie Joseph, who held off a primary challenge to secure reelection in House District 108.

Grieco also gave freely to non-incumbent candidates. He sent $1,000 to Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Omari Hardy, who ousted incumbent Rep. Al Jacquet in House District 88. Grieco gave another $1,000 to Jean-Pierre Bado, who secured the Democratic nod in the open House District 114 primary.

Another $500 each went to Christopher Benjamin in House District 107 and Kevin Chambliss in House District 117. Both were successful Tuesday and clinched those respective seats, as neither faces opposition in November.

Grieco’s one losing play was his $1,000 donation to Jasmen Rogers-Shaw, who sought to boot incumbent Democratic Rep. Anika Omphroy in House District 95. Rogers-Shaw came up a few hundred votes short in that effort.

Willhite’s PC, Floridians for Public Safety, also kicked in $1,000 to Rogers-Shaw. Gottlieb’s PC, Defending Florida, added $500. Democrats had targeted Omphroy after she voted last Session in favor of a bill requiring minors to obtain parental consent — with some exceptions — before undergoing an abortion.

Fernández was the biggest beneficiary of the group, receiving $11,500 total. Nick Duran’s PC, Leadership for Miami-Dade, sent $7,000 to Florida Future, a political committee supporting the Fernández bid in Senate District 39.

Jones gathered $3,000 from the group as he seeks the Senate District 35 seat. In addition to Grieco’s $1,000, Friends of Dan Daley also shipped $1,000 to the Jones campaign. Duran’s PC added $500 to Jones’ PC, Florida Strong Finish. Silvers’ PC, Floridians for Economic Leadership, kicked in another $500 to that group.

The South Florida lawmakers didn’t just play in their region. Rep. Geraldine Thompson received $4,000 in total for her House District 44 reelection bid.

Rep. Tracie Davis added another $1,600 as she secured reelection in House District 13, located in northeast Florida. The South Florida cohort avoided the more competitive House District 14 contest, but voters sent Kim Daniels packing anyway.

Most of the group plans to continue donating cash, phone banking and otherwise volunteering heading into the General Election.

Some of that work has already begun. Reps. Joy Goff-Marcil, Delores Hogan Johnson and Jennifer Webb have all nabbed $1,500 from the lawmakers. Daley gave $1,000 to Webb and $500 each to Goff-Marcil and Hogan Johnson. Grieco donated $500 each to Goff-Marcil and Hogan Johnson as well, as did Willhite. Willhite added $500 to Webb’s campaign in late July.

Rep. Cindy Polo has netted $1,250, with Grieco putting in $1,000 and Daley adding $250, She’s facing a Republican challenge in House District 103 in a race that could be close come November.

Grieco and Willhite’s groups have also sent some money to Republicans this cycle.

Grieco donated $1,000 to Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo‘s campaign in June. She’s facing a challenge from Democratic candidate Julie Jenkins.

Willhite’s PC also donated $2,500 each to PC’s tied to Reps. Paul Renner and Chris Sprowls. Willhite made both of those donations on March 31, sending $2,500 to the Renner-tied Florida Foundation for Liberty and another $2,500 to Sprowls’ PC, Floridians for Economic Freedom.

Both Renner and Sprowls are facing Democratic challengers, though the Republicans are favored in both match-ups.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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