Shevrin Jones spent nearly as much as he raised last month in his bid to defend his seat representing Senate District 35. With less than a year to go before Election Day, the Democrat from West Park is rebuilding his war chest while still running unopposed.
Since winning his Senate seat in November, Jones has raised more than $290,000 between his campaign and political committee, Florida Strong Finish. Of that, he has about $75,000 remaining.
Jones faces a quick turnaround; Florida Senators typically serve four-year terms, but all will be on the ballot in 2022 because of redistricting to reflect the 2020 Census.
In October, Jones raised $53,500 and spent about as much. Most of his gains came from corporate sources, with concentrations in the pharmaceutical, health insurance and trade group sectors.
Jones hasn’t taken an individual donation since January, according to his filings with the Florida Division of Elections.
Boston-based drugmaker Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which has a monopoly on medicines that treat the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis, gave $6,000. Kenilworth, NJ-based multinational pharma company Merck & Co., which developed the first pill to treat COVID-19, gave $1,000.
Health care insurance companies Simply Healthcare Plans and Cigna gave $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.
Jones’ biggest single contribution was a $15,000 check from the lobbying arm of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents.
The second largest, $10,000, came from Clewiston-headquartered agriculture giant United States Sugar Corp., which operates farms across 245,000 acres in Glades, Hendry, Martin and Palm Beach counties and is a major donor to both sides of the political aisle.
Clean energy financing company Ygrene Energy Fund gave $5,000.
Opa-locka-based Dosal Tobacco, which makes budget-friendly cigarette brands DTC and 305’s, gave $2,500.
Other donations included $1,000 from a political committee backing telecom giant AT&T; $1,000 from West Palm Beach-based construction materials company Cemex Materials, a subsidiary of a Mexican multinational corporation of the same name; and $2,000 from subsidiaries of Disney, which have given Jones more than $117,000 since August 2019.
Of the nearly $50,000 Jones spent through his political committee, more than half — nearly $29,000 — went to the Napa Valley Lodge in Yountville, California for a fundraising event. He dropped another $22,000 there in April. Napa is a regular fundraising getaway for Democrats.
Jones paid three companies for “mail media consulting”: $8,200 to Fort Lauderdale-based Public Square LLC, $3,500 to Tallahassee-based Greenprint Strategies and $2,000 to Notion Motion, headquartered in Pompano Beach.
He also gave $1,000 apiece to the campaigns of Democratic Sens. Janet Cruz and Janelle Perez, who is running to unseat Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia in SD 37.
Jones ran for SD 35 after reaching term limits in the House. He opted out of running to replace late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings in what turned out to be crowded special elections where resolution remains pending.
SD 35 leans heavily Democratic. The district straddles Broward and Miami-Dade counties and includes the cities of Miramar, West Park and Miami Gardens. It also covers Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport and North Perry Airport.
Jones emerged from a six-way Primary last year to run unopposed in the General Election Nov. 3.
Jones won with 99.7% of the vote. The remainder went to write-in, no-party candidate Darian Hill.
Candidates faced a Wednesday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through October.