Ileana Garcia banks $32K in July, mostly from builders

Ileana Garcia
A large portion of her donations came from South Florida’s booming home construction industry.

Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia banked $32,000 last month to defend her District 37 seat in 2022. The haul brings her campaign war chest to over $183,000 more than a year from an election in which she has no opponents so far.

Garcia’s campaign has nearly $70,000 to spend, up $10,500 from June, according to her filings with the Florida Division of Elections. Her political committee, No More Socialism, has more than $113,000, thanks to $21,500 in July donations.

More than two-thirds of her donations came from South Florida’s booming home construction industry and two of the state’s most prominent lobbyists.

Her largest two donations in July were for $5,000 apiece. One came from Better Roads for Florida, a political committee run by Ivory Matthews, the director of community and government affairs for private homebuilder Neal Communities. The other was from Fort Lauderdale-headquartered general contracting firm Moss & Associates.

Pinecrest-based Epic Construction Inc. gave another $1,000, as did insurance industry advocacy group Florida Insurance Council.

Lobbyist Ron Book, whose family and businesses contribute to most Florida legislative incumbents seeking re-election, gave $7,500 through three eponymous sources and two corporate entities called Gift Scenario Inc. and Confection Connections Inc. Book has represented many corporate and government agency clients, including Coca-Cola and Miami-Dade Public Schools, as well as numerous Florida counties and South Florida municipalities, including many within Garcia’s district spanning a large portion of Miami-Dade’s coastline from Cutler Bay to the City of Miami.

Southwest Florida accountant Eric Robinson, dubbed by his hometown newspaper as “the prince of dark money” due to his reputation as a highly connected campaign money man, gave $2,500 through one of several committees he runs, Building on Your Dreams Political Committee.

Other contributions included $3,000 from the Converge Government Affairs firm, which rebranded in June as Converge Public Strategies but donated under its older moniker; $2,500 from Better Florida Education, a political committee fellow GOP Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah runs; $1,000 from Olds Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina in Little Havana; $1,000 from eye care company South Florida Vision: $1,000 from lobbyist Albert Balido, managing partner of Anfield Consulting; and $500 from government affairs consultant Max Losner of Fort Lauderdale law firm Becker & Poliakoff.

Garcia unseated Democratic incumbent José Javier Rodriguez by a 34-vote margin in November in a race that has since led to a pair of felony charges tied to election meddling. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office in March said it had no evidence Garcia, who denied involvement, knew of or took part in the scheme.

Garcia is the co-founder of Latinas for Trump and served as deputy press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security in former President Donald Trump’s administration.

Florida senators typically serve four-year terms, but like all other Florida lawmakers, she will be on the ballot in 2022 because of redistricting to reflect the 2020 Census.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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