A.J. D’Amico draws $35K in first full fundraising month of House bid

A.J. D'Amico Alessandro James
Most of D'Amico's gains came through individual donations, some as low as $10.

Democratic lawyer Alessandro James “A.J.” D’Amico collected more than $35,000 in his first full month of fundraising, far outpacing his lone Republican opponent in a race to succeed Rep. Nick Duran in the Florida House this year.

By the end of December, D’Amico still had about $33,000 left to spend. Republican college student Antonio Byrdsong, who launched a campaign in August, held $1,300.

The Florida Division of Elections currently lists the two men as being on a collision course for the 2022 General Election. However, the ongoing reapportionment process could place them in different districts come November.

D’Amico’s gains came primarily through roughly 100 individual donations ranging from $10 to $1,000. Most were from the legal profession.

National Provider Alliance (NPA), a certified surgical assistant association, contributed $1,000 to D’Amico’s campaign. Two Tallahassee-based lobbying firms sharing the same address as NPA on D’Amico’s contributions ledger, Melaney Cordell & Associates and Buigas & Associates, each gave $1,000.

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So did consulting firms New Century Government Affairs and Abad & Associates.

D’Amico also enjoyed support from several executives of Carnival Cruise Line. Vicky Rey, the company’s vice president of stakeholder engagement, donated $1,000. Cherie Weinstein, Carnival’s vice president of group sales and administration, gave $500. Gisella Mazzilli, vice president of finance and accounting, chipped in $150.

He also received another $150 from former Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen, who became the public relations director for Malaysian casino giant Genting’s Crystal Cruises in October.

Duran, who endorsed D’Amico last month, gave $1,000 through his political committee, Leadership for Miami-Dade.

Other political committee donations included $1,000 from A Stronger Florida, chaired by Rubin Turnbull and Associates Director of Operations Celeste Camm; $500 from GrayRobinson PA Florida PAC; and $250 from PSM PAC.

Fellow Democrat Kevin Cho Tipton, a nurse practitioner and Air National Guard captain who announced a run for House District 112 in November, donated $250.

D’Amico spent more than $3,000 in December. He paid Miami restaurant Monty’s Raw Bar $1,752 for costs associated with a campaign kickoff event. He also paid $1,000 to Florida Politics parent company Extensive Enterprises for media advertising.

Byrdsong, who worked as a Washington metropolitan area event promoter and waiter before relocating to Miami Beach, has raised nearly $7,000 in an almost fully self-funded campaign. That includes nearly $2,600 he loaned himself last month, when he received his first two outside donations — one for $2, the other for $26.

Byrdsong spent more than $1,300 in December. Most of it went to Latoro LLC for “office space/storage.” He paid another $35 to a Gainesville-based political website builder Poliengine and spent $10 on “digital promo material” on the video-sharing platform, TikTok.

Florida’s redistricting process has complicated several 2022 state races, including this one. D’Amico originally filed for House District 112, which Duran represents. Byrdsong, on the other hand, filed for House District 113, which Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco represents.

The Florida Division of Elections has since pitted the two against one another to reflect a still-shifting redistricting process. However, that may be temporary; two maps the House has published (H 8005 and H 8007) would place D’Amico in House District 114 and Byrdsong in House District 106, based on their listed addresses.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign finance activities 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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