Incumbent Rep. Michael Grieco had his best fundraising month this election cycle in September, when he took in nearly $14,000 from a mixture of donors, including law firms, agriculture groups, political committees and beer businesses.
Grieco, a Democrat and Miami Beach-based criminal defense lawyer, now holds just over $38,000 to defend his House District 113 seat next year.
His sole opponent, Republican Antonio Byrdsong, has less than $23 in a campaign that has been fully self-funded since its August launch.
Grieco’s biggest gains last month came from the law, lobbying and government relations sector, including $1,000 gifts from Tallahassee-based firm Capitol Partners, Wolfe Law Miami, influential lobbyist Ron Book and his Aventura company, Capital Advocacy Group, and Florida Justice PAC, the lobbying arm of the Florida Justice Association.
Richmond, Virginia-headquartered firm McGuireWoods, whose website lists a Jacksonville office, gave $500. So did Fort Lauderdale lawyer Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, a former Republican state lawmaker who served in both legislative chambers from 2004 to 2012.
Law firm Meenan P.A., led by Tim Meenan, gave $250.
Grieco received two $1,000 gifts from Clewiston-headquartered farming businesses, one from U.S. Sugar, the other from citrus grower Southern Gardens Groves Corp.
The beer industry also donated in $1,000 increments, including gifts from Quality Acquisitions Co., a subsidiary of South Florida Anheuser-Busch distributor Eagle Brands Sales; Gold Coast Beverage, a subsidiary of Reyes Beer Division; and Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government, a political committee run by Daytona Beverages President Kevin Bowler.
Additional political committee donations included $1,000 from NextEra Energy PAC, the lobbying arm of Florida Power & Light parent NextEra Energy, and $500 from the Florida Dental Association PAC.
Grieco also got $500 from individual donations, split evenly between Miami Beach retiree Marco Garcia and Ashley Walker, a principal at Mercury Public Affairs.
Grieco spent just $41 last month on general bookkeeping costs.
Byrdrsong, conversely, spent more than $1,300. Almost all of it went to Latoro LLC, which Byrdsong’s campaign lists as an “office/storage space” company. The company’s registered agent, Antonino Pellicciotti, manages The Latoro, an apartment building on Miami Beach.
According to his campaign website, Byrdsong worked in the Washington metropolitan area as an event promoter and waiter before relocating to Miami Beach, where he works while pursuing an online political science degree from North Virginia Community College.
His LinkedIn page lists him as the founder of Byrd Enterprise, a Washington limited liability company. An inactive Orlando-based LLC called Byrd Digital is registered and cross-referenced with Byrd Enterprise on the Florida Division of Corporations under the name Demarcus Antonio Byrdsong.
A former Miami Beach Commissioner and one-time candidate for Miami Mayor, Grieco emerged from a three-person Democratic Primary in 2018 seeking to replace Rep. David Richardson, who was vying for a congressional seat.
Grieco ultimately defeated Republican Jonathan Parker with more than 62% of the vote. He coasted into a second term unopposed last year.
In June, the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust found Grieco had committed two violations of the county’s Citizens’ Bill of Rights. He was told to pay $1,000 for the infractions, which occurred before he ran for state office while he was still in local Miami Beach politics.
HD 113 covers all of Miami Beach and parts of Miami and North Bay Village. It also contains Fisher Island, a neighborhood in the county’s unincorporated area.
The district has been in Democrat hands since 2012. It was in Republican hands for the previous 30 years. The last Republican to hold the district was Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who later served as Miami-Dade Property Appraiser and Florida’s 19th Lieutenant Governor.
Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign fundraising activities in September.