Danielle Cohen Higgins further outpaces challenger with $13K toward District 8 defense
Danielle Cohen Higgins (left) is eying affordable housing ingenuity, county contract reform and bridging a gap between Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay. Image via Danielle Cohen Higgins.

Daniella Cohen Higgins
She recently submitted about a third of the required petition signatures needed to qualify for the race.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins raised about $13,000 last month to help retain her seat representing District 8 and add further distance between herself and her sole remaining opponent.

As of Feb. 28, Cohen Higgins held more than $515,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Fight for Our Future. Much of those gains came from real estate and development businesses.

Community activist and Hammocks Citizens Advisory Committee Vice Chair Alicia Arellano, who is running “to put an end to irresponsible development without the proper infrastructure in place,” has outlasted three other candidates. But she hasn’t raised a cent since September 2020, and with just $361 left in her campaign account, she’s close to running out of financial runway.

Cohen Higgins, a civil litigator in private practice, was appointed in December to finish the term of Daniella Levine Cava, who left the Commission to become county Mayor.

Since launching her election campaign in March 2021, Cohen Higgins has raised more than $725,000.

This month, she submitted to the county 500 signed petitions to qualify for this year’s August ballot. She’ll need another 971 to reach the required 1,471-signature mark, which represents 1% of the number of registered District 8 voters.

Cohen Higgins filling out paperwork to accompany 500 signed petitions supporting her run for election to Miami-Dade County Commission District 8. Image via Danielle Cohen Higgins.

In a March 8 press note, Cohen Higgins said she is “proud to be running a grassroots campaign in South Dade” and described the initial batch of signatures as a testament to her campaign’s “incredible supporters and volunteers.”

“I am truly grateful and humbled for their support and (it) reaffirms that our campaign is not about me, it’s about the future of our community,” she said in a statement. “I will continue to work hard everyday to earn the support of the South-Dade community and voters in District 8.”

Cohen Higgins last month received 16 individual donations, some as low as $25.

Among her noteworthy individual donations: $5,000 from Hilton Bentley Hotel managing partner and past Miami Dade College Foundation chair Julie Grimes; $1,000 from real estate investor, former Pinecrest Mayor and former Miami-Dade School Board member Evelyn Greer; and $500 from Russell Benford, vice president of government relations for Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Also from the real estate sector, Cohen Higgins accepted $5,000 from MC Estates Miami LLC, a Sunrise-based real estate company formed in 2016 under manager Craig Perry, the president and founder of Centerline Capital Advisors.

Cohen Higgins spent about $8,100 in February, most of it on consulting. She paid Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert’s Edge Communications $4,000 for “consulting” and strategic adviser Brian Goldmeier’s BYG Strategies $2,360 for “fundraising services.”

Other expenses included a nearly $1,100 payment to Miami-based Good Catch for campaign clothing and signage, $320 to Democratic campaign database NGP Van, $150 to Miami-Dade County for “petition verification” and $36 to Miami-based Alina Sportswear for apparel.

Arellano’s February spending: a $10 bank maintenance fee.

District 8 covers much of Miami-Dade County’s southern portion, including the municipalities of Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Redlands, Falls, Princeton, Naranja, Leisure City and parts of West Kendall.

Candidates faced a March 10 deadline to report all campaign finance activity through the end of February.

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 Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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