GOP challenger matches Frederica Wilson in Q4 fundraising, but trails far behind in on-hand cash
Frederica Wilson cheers measures to keep Florida moist with clean water.

wilson
Republican Lavern Spicer matched Wilson blow-for-blow in fundraising but ended Q4 with less than 1% of Wilson's war chest.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson raked in almost $55,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing her war chest total to $495,000 as she looks to defend her seat representing Florida’s 24th Congressional District.

Her sole Republican opponent, Lavern Spicer, all but matched her blow-for-blow in the fundraising department with more than $54,000 collected over the same period.

But thanks to healthy spending, Spicer and Democratic challenger Christine Olivo — both of whom challenged Wilson in 2020 — together hold less than 1% of what Wilson did on New Year’s Day.

While Wilson accepted nearly two dozen individual contributions, some as low as $25, the preponderance of her Q4 gains came from political committees, trade groups and corporate donors.

The Sheet Metal Workers International Association, which has numerous local chapters throughout Florida, donated $3,000. The NFL Players Association, International Union of Allied Trade, Machinists Non-Partisan Political League and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees each gave $2,500.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association donated $1,500. SMART TD, which represents sheet metal, air, rail and transportation workers, gave $1,000.

Several Democratic political committees turned out. Progressive Turnout Project, a Chicago-based PC dedicated to improving Democratic voting numbers, gave Wilson $5,000 — her largest single donation last quarter.

A PC backing the Congressional Black Caucus donated $1,500. American Association for Justice, which supports pro-civil justice candidates, gave $1,000.

Wilson accepted three sizable donations from the banking and finance sector: $2,000 from Regions Financial Corp. and $1,500 apiece from Wells Fargo and Navient, a Delaware-based student loan services provider.

From the real estate and development sector, Wilson received $2,000 from the lobbying arm of the National Association of Realtors and $1,500 from Frank Sinto, the founder and CEO of The Millennia Companies, a Cleveland-based apartment-building business.

Two donors from the natural resource-harvesting business appeared on Wilson’s ledger. Herickson Acime, a Miami Engineer, gave $2,500. He listed his employer as the Kemet Group, a sub-Saharan mining company. Texas-based pulp and paper company Resolute Forest Products gave $2,000.

Other noteworthy donations included $1,500 from Comcast Corp., the American Optometric Association and Walmart; and $1,000 from Verizon and the lobbying arm of DaVita Inc., a Denver-based kidney dialysis company.

Wilson spent just over $18,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. Almost all of it went to two places: Washington-based fundraising consultant Advanced Network Strategies, which she paid $13,500; and Democratic voter database and web-hosting provider NGP Van, which got about $4,500.

Wilson’s campaign also owes her about $15,000 in reimbursements for campaign-related expenses, her filings with the Federal Elections Commission show.

Spicer, who is running “to expose the lies of the left and end the Democrats’ destruction of Black America,” ended 2021 with less than $7,000 in her campaign bank account.

Her gains last quarter were almost exclusively grassroots, with individual contributions from repeat donors coming in as low as $5.

Noteworthy individual donations included $2,400 from real estate, agriculture and oil and gas investor David B. Elliott, who runs an addiction-treatment nonprofit in Dallas; and $2,000 from Boynton Beach physician Heidi Schaeffer.

Spicer — who in August said the U.S. should turn away Afghan refugees fleeing from the Taliban — also loaned herself $7,000, bringing her total self-donation total to $10,000 this cycle.

Of $50,000 Spicer spent last quarter, she used about $6,000 to repay some of those self-loans.

Her largest expenditure, $7,500, went to London-based Arsenal Media Group for “media consulting.”

She paid $2,400 to Republican political consultant Joey Mannarino for “campaign management,” $1,270 to Delray Beach-based Constant Contact for “email marketing,” $759 to Fort Lauderdale-based Lakeside Media LLA for advertising services and $720 to Red Fox Strategies for consulting and donation commissions.

She also spent nearly $1,200 on campaign clothing at Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts, and another $700 on lodging.

Olivo, a businesswoman and college student, ended 2021 in the red. She raised less than $3,000 in Q4 but spent close to $7,000. As of Dec. 31, she held a negative campaign balance of about $3,400.

Olivo accepted four individual donations ranging from $20 to $500 last quarter. She also gave herself $243, bringing her total self-loan amount this cycle to more than $7,000.

Her spending went overwhelmingly to two staffers, Michael Morris and Sulka Stewart, who received $3,100 and $2,000 respectively.

She spent less than $300 on voter and donor outreach. The remainder of her spending went to consulting, upkeep and fundraising fees.

CD 24 is a heavily Democratic-leaning area spanning parts of southern Broward and north Miami-Dade counties, including portions of Aventura, Hialeah, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miami, Miami Beach, Miramar, North Miami and North Miami Beach, among other municipalities.

Those boundaries could change as a result of ongoing redistricting to reflect the 2020 Census.

Wilson, who previously served in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, has served in the U.S. House uninterrupted since winning election in 2010. Since then, she has overwhelmingly won re-election.

After handily defeating two Democratic Primary challengers in 2020, she went on to challenge Spicer and Olivo, then a non-party affiliated candidate, in the General Election.

Spicer secured 20.4% of the vote. Olivo got 4%.

Wilson received 75.6% support.

Candidates and political committees faced a Jan. 31 deadline to report all 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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