Manny Diaz Jr. adds $36K to defend SD 36, half from tobacco, pharma, health care sectors
Image via Colin Hackley.

He holds more than $527,000 altogether.

Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. added more than $36,000 toward his District 36 defense last month, with strong showings from the tobacco, medical, pharmaceutical, health insurance and retail sectors.

Less than a year from Election Day 2022, Diaz remains unopposed. Between his campaign and political committee, Better Florida Education, he holds more than $527,000 to ensure a second and final four-year term in the Florida Legislature’s upper chamber.

Diaz’s biggest single contribution in October was a $10,000 check from Dosal Tobacco. The Opa-locka-based manufacturing company behind the DTC and 305’s cigarette brands donated to several state races last month.

So have pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis, which gave $1,000 apiece, and Pfizer, which gave $500. Industry group Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America also chipped in $1,000.

Simply Healthcare Plans, a Cincinnati-based Medicaid contractor, donated $5,000. Florida Podiatry Political Committee, which podiatrist Dr. William Beaton runs, gave $500.

Retailers Petland and Walmart gave $5,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Cemex Inc. Employees PAC, a lobbying group linked to West Palm Beach-based construction materials company Cemex Materials, a subsidiary of a Mexican multinational corporation of the same name, contributed $4,000.

Another PC, Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, which former U.S. Rep. Thomas Feeny III runs, gave $5,000.

He received four individual donations ranging from $50 to $250.

Diaz spent nearly $28,000 in October, mostly on campaigning and consulting. He paid Tallahassee-based firm Ross Consulting nearly $10,000 last month alone. Diaz has employed the services of the firm since early 2019. Its principal, Ashley Plant Ross, cites playing “a significant role in electing more than 50 candidates to public office through her work for the Senate Republican Caucus.”

Diaz also paid $3,000 to Cape Coral-based company Upper Hand Strategies for “media consulting” and $250 to Miami-based campaign advocacy firm Campaign Precision.

His ledger includes $5,600 in payments to Hialeah-based Jorge Caraza for “surveys” and “canvassing.” Another $2,900 went to Miami-based 88th Strategies for “digital marketing.” Diaz also spent about $905 on campaign promotional items.

He moved around a bit as well. Diaz’s filing with the Florida Division of Elections shows about $900 going to U-Haul Oct. 1 and more than $900 going to American Airlines Oct. 27.

Diaz donated to two campaigns last month. Both were $1,000 checks. One was for Vivian Casals-Munoz, the director of events at Hialeah Park who is running to succeed Rep. Bryan Avila in representing House District 111. The other went to Alexandria Suarez, a former Republican House candidate now running for the District 5 seat on the Monroe County School Board.

Diaz’s ledger includes an $850 payment to Manuel Diaz Sr. for “birthday card prep.” He paid Diaz Sr. $1,000 in August for “birthday card distribution.” Prior to that, 13 payments to Diaz Sr. between August 2019 and June 2021 ranging from $500 to $1,100 were listed as being for “surveys.”

A former assistant principal with Miami-Dade Public Schools, Diaz served three terms in the Florida House from 2012 to 2018, when he won his SD 36 seat by a nine-percentage-point margin.

SD 36 spans the inland, northwestern, Republican-leaning portion of Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Doral, Medley, Hialeah Gardens, Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and his hometown, Hialeah. It also covers the unincorporated Fontainebleau, Gladeview, Tamiami and West Little River Neighborhoods, as well as Miami International Airport, the county’s top economic generator.

Candidates faced a Wednesday deadline to report all financial activities through Oct. 31.

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.

One comment

  • David

    November 16, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Clearly this man is a rino! Taking money from tobacco, sinful!

Comments are closed.


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