Manny Diaz Jr. adds $31K for SD 36 defense with support from health care, police

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His net gain was just under $4,600 month-over-month, thanks to active spending.

Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. collected $31,000 in December to help keep his seat representing Senate District 36. Nearly half that sum came from the health care sector, pharmaceutical companies and police unions.

With less than a year to go before the 2022 General Election, Diaz is still unopposed. The Miami Republican now holds nearly $490,000 between his campaign and political committee, Better Florida Education. That’s a net increase of just under $4,600 thanks to an active round of spending in December.

Mario Jardon, president and CEO of Hialeah-based Citrus Health Network, donated $3,000 to Diaz’s PC. The remainder of the December donations to Diaz were from businesses or organizations.

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. gave $2,500. Maxim Healthcare Services, which runs a location in Doral, gave $2,000.

Diaz received $1,000 apiece from Floridians for Safe Medical Cannabis Care, a political committee whose chair, Aaron Bloom, is CEO of medical marijuana doctor group DocMJ; the Florida lobbying arm of The Doctors Company, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer”; and Tokyo-headquartered Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Five separate state Fraternal Order of Police groups contributed to Diaz’s campaign as well for a combined $4,500.

Miami-based Braman Motors gave $5,000. So did telecom giant Charter Communications (also known as Spectrum) and Miramar-based alcohol company Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

Miami government consulting firm Rodriguez Piña & Associates chipped in $1,000.

Diaz spent $27,000 in December, mostly locally.

His biggest payment, $6,840, went to Hialeah-based Jorge Caraza for “canvassing.” He paid another $5,000 to Tallahassee-based media and public relations firm Front Line Strategies for “online advertising” and $3,274 to Hialeah-based Front Runner’s Services for a “petition list.”

Diaz donated $3,000 to Senate President Wilton Simpson’s campaign to become Florida’s next Agriculture Commissioner. He paid another $3,000 to Cape Coral-based media management and government relations firm Upper Hand Strategies for “media consulting.”

Diaz also paid Hialeah-based Manuel Diaz Sr. $2,200 for “birthday card distribution” and “surveys.” Since 2019, Diaz’s political committee has paid Diaz Sr. more than $13,600 in 19 separate payments for surveys and birthday card-related activities.

Other expenditures included a $525 reimbursement to Hialeah-based Judith Ruiz for “promotional items,” $525 to Publix for the same, a $500 “sponsorship” payment to Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Miami Lakes, another $500 sponsorship payment to charter 6-12 school City of Hialeah Educational Academy, $250 to Doral-based consulting firm Campaign Precision, $200 to online gift card retailer Gift Card Granny for “promotional items,” and $190 to Verizon Wireless for “campaign phone” costs.

He also spent more than $800 on meals and events in Doral, Hialeah and Fort Lauderdale.

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

Redistricting plans, which are still pending approval, would allow Diaz to remain in the district based on his listed mailing address with the Division of Elections, though the boundaries would likely shift.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign financial activity through Dec. 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.



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