Connect with us
Rep. Vance Aloupis. Image via Florida House.

2020/2022

Faced with an onslaught of outside cash, Vance Aloupis outshines 2018 success

Aloupis and his team pulled off a dominating win after barely grabbing the seat in 2018.

After winning the House District 115 seat by just 1 point in 2018, Aloupis was forced this year to stare down $1.7 million in a late-cycle ad blitz on behalf of his Democratic opponent.

He walked away with a 14-point win Tuesday night.

“It only makes you stronger,” Aloupis said.

That taxing win over Democrat Franccesca Cesti-Browne has Aloupis ready to unwind the way many winners do: he’s going to Disney World in the coming weeks, with his family by his side. How did Aloupis — a strong fundraiser in his own right — manage to grow on his 2018 win despite facing that surge of outside spending?

One reality is that Republicans writ-large cleaned up Tuesday night inside Miami-Dade County, and a rising Republican tide lifts all boats. Aloupis’ seat covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Pinecrest, South Miami and Palmetto Bay.

Aloupis also owes thanks to campaign advisors such as Alex Miranda of Miranda Advocacy LLC. While Miranda felt confident about his guy’s chances Tuesday, the final margins across the county even caught him off guard.

“I think yesterday surprised everyone, not just myself,” Miranda told Florida Politics.

Aloupis didn’t simply coast off the party’s success Tuesday though. Miranda said his team had sifted through precinct data which showed Aloupis outperforming President Donald Trump by 9 points inside HD 115.

“The President definitely helped,” Miranda noted. “Support from the base, support from the President definitely drove out turnout. That was readily apparent. But candidates do matter, and the fact that Vance outperformed the President by 9 points is a testament to that.”

Miranda also helped guide Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez to a comfortable win in Senate District 39 Tuesday night in one of the biggest races in Florida this cycle.

“Both my clients were superior campaigners,” Miranda said. “They’re better retail politicians. They’re better on the stump. They’re better when it comes to policy. And they actually have a track record of getting things done, not just politically but professionally.”

Aloupis has shown his adeptness during his brief time in the House. His day job is with the Children’s Movement of Florida, a group that seeks to improve pre-K education and provide young children health insurance.

Aloupis has worked across the aisle to advance children’s issues. In April, he pushed the state’s Office of Early Learning to offer child care to families of first responders and health care workers as those workers dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incumbent has also focused on climate change issues during his time in the Legislature. Last Session, Aloupis backed a bill requiring contractors for publicly-funded coastal projects to study those projects’ environmental effects before building can begin. The Legislature approved the Senate bill — which Gov. Ron DeSantis eventually signed — but Aloupis sponsored the House version.

Miranda worked as a campaign manager for former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine before becoming the deputy political director at the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). It was during that stretch of his career, in 2016, that he met Aloupis.

“I met him the day after Mike Bileca won his third reelection campaign,” Miranda said. “I was working for the RPOF at the time and I came down here for the last six weeks of the election and essentially oversaw Carlos Trujillo’s and Mike Bileca’s campaigns.”

Miranda said a mutual friend connected him and Vance one day after the 2016 General Election, where Bileca ran for his final term representing HD 115. He saw Aloupis’ potential from the first meet.

“I said to myself, ‘This is the guy that’s going to win. This is the guy that’s going to succeed Mike Bileca.’ I knew it from the outset and nobody could persuade me otherwise. So I’ve been with Vance since day one.”

“He is without question if not the best, one of the best, in the game now,” Aloupis added of Miranda. “For him to win the Senate seat by 12 points is huge.”

So was the HD 115 blowout a sign the district is turning from purple to red? Or was it a one-off thanks to a cycle which saw record Republican turnout in Miami-Dade?

“It’s somewhere in-between,” Miranda argued. But he acknowledged he and Aloupis may have another tough fight on their hands come 2022.

“I know 2020 was definitely a unique year.”

Still, Aloupis’ resounding win came as Democratically-aligned groups made a significant play in the district. In addition to the millions from Forward Majority, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) — a pro-Democratic PAC chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — also put in some cash. The groups committed $124,000 to help win four contested House contests across the state, including in HD 115.

The NDRC came up short in all four races.

Erica Chanti of Rubin, Turnbull and Associates, who’s worked with Republicans across Miami-Dade County, argued Democrats were simply unprepared to make the region competitive.

“They all expected there to be this anti-Trump backlash,” Chanti said. “And then with the money they felt comfortable and they just didn’t work. You have to work to win here. You have to diversify your support.”

Miranda was reticent to pump himself up too much following Tuesday’s results, which arguably speak for themselves. But he did take credit for the work he and his firm put in.

“I’m not a fan of just throwing mud on the wall, hoping it sticks. I like to isolate universes and groups of people and really just hone in on the messaging,” Miranda said.

“The analogy I like to use is, the monopolistic consulting class that exists is the taxi cab industry. We’re Lyft.”

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.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.