Rep. Christopher Benjamin posted his best fundraising month by far this election cycle, amassing just over $15,000 in December to defend his House District 107 seat through a blend of grassroots and corporate donations.
Benjamin’s gains last month more than doubled what he had on hand since he began fundraising again last year.
As of Dec. 31, the Miami Gardens-based lawyer held more than $28,000. His opponent, fellow Democrat Wancito Francius, reported having about $11,000 after a lackluster round of fundraising coupled with active spending.
Benjamin accepted 11 individual donations in December ranging from $100 to $1,000.
HCA Healthcare, which operates 48 hospitals across Florida — including three in Miami-Dade County, where HD 107 sits — contributed $3,000 through its north, east and west divisions.
Florida Power & Light parent company NextEra Energy gave $1,000.
Benjamin received the same amount from agriculture giant U.S. Sugar Corp., which farms on 245,000 acres in Glades, Hendry, Martin and Palm Beach counties; SEIU Florida, one of the state’s largest unions; insurance agent group Committee of Florida Agents; and Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo’s political committee, Protecting Coastal Communities.
Benjamin, who won his seat in 2020, appears to be in bulking mode. He hasn’t spent a cent since he started raising funds for re-election in June. In the months since, he has filed dozens of bills for consideration in the ongoing 2022 Legislative Session, including one that would ban most citizen’s arrests in the state.
Francius, a businessman who last year placed third in a three-way race for a seat on the North Miami Commission, raised just $85 in December through four individual donations.
He spent more than $2,900 last month on various campaign costs, including a $1,000 payment to campaign manager Daniel Calixte, $545 on signage, $500 on accounting services, $450 for a website and $417 on printing.
HD 107 currently covers a northeast portion of Miami-Dade County, including North Miami Beach, part of Miami Gardens and the unincorporated neighborhood of Golden Glades.
Proposed redistricting would shift the district slightly southward to cover more of North Miami and part of North Miami Beach.
Benjamin took office after defeating Ulysses “Buck” Harvard in the August 2020 Primary Election by a more than 20-percentage-point margin. No Republican filed for the district, allowing Benjamin to skip the General Election.
Candidates faced a Jan. 10 deadline to report all campaign finance activities.