Jason Pizzo banks $50K for SD 38 defense with help from agriculture, unions, insurance
Image via Colin Hackley

Pizzo has $700,000 on hand and no opponent.

Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo had his second-best fundraising month of 2021 in December, when he collected more than $50,000 to defend his Senate District 38 seat. More than half of that cash came from the agriculture sector, trade groups and unions, and insurance companies.

At the end of 2021, Pizzo had nearly $700,000 between his campaign and political committee, New Opportunity Florida — a healthy chunk of change on hold with no one yet challenging him.

His biggest single gain was a $10,000 check from Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp., which operates across roughly 245,000 acres of farmland in Hendry, Glades, Martin and Palm Beach counties.

The Florida branch of the Service Employees International Union — which represents nursing, government and property service workers — gave Pizzo $6,000, his second-largest donation last month.

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents some 6,000 jockeys and racing-related workers; the lobbying arm of NACM-ICP, a credit management professionals group; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America each gave $2,500.

The Underground Utility Contractors of Florida chipped in another $500.

Fort Lauderdale-based insurer E/G of Florida donated $2,000. GEICO, Frontline Insurance and Bonita Springs-based Florida Family Insurance Co. gave $1,000 apiece.

From the gambling sphere, Pizzo received $2,500 from the Gulfstream Park Racing Association, which operates a racing, casino, entertainment and hotel operation in Hallandale Beach. The Seminole Tribe of Florida gave the same amount.

Specialist retail companies Petland and The Home Depot contributed $2,500 and $1,000, respectively.

Other noteworthy donations included $2,500 from investment firm Invesco, $2,500 from ABC Liquors and $2,000 from the Coalition of Affordable Housing Providers, a Tallahassee-based political committee.

Pizzo spent less than $3,000 last month. That included $1,806 on a late-month fundraising event at Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack in Tallahassee and a $1,000 sponsorship fee to the Broward Young Democrats.

This week, Pizzo advocated for a bill of his, SB 876, which would provide police with more power to enforce reckless driving laws by specifically banning street takeovers and stunt driving activities that have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Senate committee unanimously approved the bill, clearing it for further consideration in the chamber.

SD 38 covers an eastern portion of Miami-Dade County and includes Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbour Islands, Biscayne Park, El Portal, Golden Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Shores, North Bay Village, North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside.

Candidates and political committees faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign finance 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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