Bryan Ávila gains steam with $82K toward Miami-Dade Commission bid

Avila now holds more than $1.25 million. His only opponent has $50,000.

Republican Rep. Bryan Ávila’s war chest swelled and independent candidate Ibis Valdés’ coffers shrank last month as both ramped up campaign efforts to succeed Rebeca Sosa on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Ávila raised almost $82,000 in November with support from the real estate sector, conservative allies and the legal, lobbying and government relations fields, among others. He now holds more than $1.25 million between his campaign and political committee, Fighting for Florida’s Families.

Valdés, meanwhile, raised nothing over the 30-day period, according to her campaign filings, which show she still holds a healthy but comparatively paltry $50,000 after spending more than $2,000 last month.

Ávila’s biggest contribution was a $10,000 check from Ocean Reef PAC, whose chair, Alan Goldstein, leads the philanthropic Ocean Reef Community Foundation in Key Largo. He also received a pair of $5,000 donations from subsidiaries of the Vestor Companies, a Jacksonville-based real estate business.

Conservative Florida, the political committee backing Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure, also gave $5,000, as did Building a Brighter Future for Florida, a conservative political committee Thomas Piccolo of consulting firm Strategic Image Management runs.

Another $5,000 came from Austin lawyer Carlos Zaffirini, the CEO of Washington-based health care finance consulting firm AHCV.

Pereira Reyes Consulting in Miami chipped in $2,500. Converge Public Strategies, a Miami-based consulting firm, gave $2,000 through donations from Managing Partner Elnatan Rudolph and Jonathan Kilman.

Crisafulli Consulting in Merritt Island, Villalon Law in Miami, McGuireWoods in Virginia and A Stronger Florida, a political committee tied to Tallahassee lobbying firm Rubin Turnbull and Associates, all gave $1,000.

Ávila also enjoyed support from the lobbying arms of the Service Employees International Union and the Associated Industries of Florida. Each chipped in $5,000.

Ygrene Energy Fund, which provides financing for homeowners outfitting their houses with eco-friendly upgrades, donated $5,109. Credit card company Visa gave $2,500.

Ávila received $2,500 apiece from Friends of Tampa General Hospital, which hospital Government Affairs Vice President Steve Harris runs; and  CDR Maguire, a multi-pronged company that received a significant chunk of federally funded contracts for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and monoclonal antibody treatments in Florida.

From the health insurance sector, Cigna Corp. Employees PAC gave $2,000. A political committee representing the Florida Association of Health Plans gave $500.

Miami-Dade Commission District 6 covers much of the city of Hialeah and includes Miami International Airport, the county’s No. 1 economic engine. Naturally, airport businesses have been donating to Ávila.

Nicholas Valdespino, vice president of operations for baggage-wrapping business Secure Wrap gave $1,000. Safe Wrap of Florida JV and Homyn Enterprises Corp., both subsidiaries of Secure Wrap, each donated $1,000.

Luggage-storing business Communitel Baggage Services gave the same. Direct Airline Services, which operates out of Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, gave $500.

Other noteworthy contributions included $3,500 from West Palm Beach-based limestone aggregator White Rock Quarries and $2,000 from Miramar-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

Ávila spent more than $14,000 last month. Of that, $8,620 paid for “mailers” from the Stoneridge Group, an Alpharetta, GA-based GOP campaign communications firm.

He also paid $5,600 for “video ads/photo shoot/website” from the American Strategies Group, a Coral Gables-headquartered consulting firm.

Valdés, who works as a business consultant in private life, paid Miami man Darien Borges $1,800, listing him as “digital director” on her campaign ledger.

She also paid Brazilian Júlia Bezerra Santos $277 for “design.”

Current District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa reaches term limits in 2022 after two decades of service.

Ávila filed to run to succeed Sosa on June 1, when fellow Republican Rep. Anthony Rodriguez announced his bid to replace term-limited District 10 Commissioner Javier Souto.

Valdés filed the same day.

If both Representatives win, they will join former Republican Sen. René García on the 13-member county legislative body, which is technically nonpartisan.

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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