Shevrin Jones crosses $1M raised for Senate defense as old foe resurfaces to challenge him
Shev Jones posts solid bank.

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Active spending has left him with just $44,000 as of March 31.

Sen. Shevrin Jones hit the ground running in fundraising following the Legislative Session, amassing more than $45,000 in less than two weeks through a mix of grassroots and corporate contributions.

Last month marked a milestone in this election cycle for Jones, a West Park Democrat who is moving south to run for re-election in a reconfigured Senate District 34. His March haul put him over the $1 million mark in funds raised since he won his Senate seat in November 2020.

His sole opponent in SD 34, former Democratic Miami Gardens Council member and Vice Mayor Erhabor Ighodaro — one of several opponents Jones faced in his 2020 Senate campaign — has raised about $33,000 since entering the race in February.

Ighodaro, whose wife now sits on the Miami Gardens Council, was one of five Democratic candidates Jones faced in his 2020 Senate bid. During the race, Ighodaro drew rebukes for comments critics labeled as homophobic and indirectly aimed at Jones, the first openly gay Black lawmaker elected to the Florida Legislature.

“There is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that a family should look like, and that’s what we’re going to fight for,” Ighodaro said during a campaign event.

Jones said that was a dig at him, but also indicated Ighodaro lacked the focus necessary to deliver for constituents.

“My hope is that my opponent would run his race using the light of love, working to represent all Floridians,” he said on Twitter at the time. “People are looking to somebody to go to Tallahassee to be their champion, not their judge.”

Jones went on to win 43.3% of the vote in the August 2020 Primary compared to Ighodaro’s 14.9%. He then captured 99.7% of the vote in the General Election.

State law bars Florida lawmakers from receiving campaign contributions during Session, which ran this year from Jan. 11 to March 14.

Jones has remained an active spender this cycle. As of March 31, he held less than $44,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Florida Strong Finish.

Sixty-four people donated directly to Jones’ campaign in March through checks ranging from $3 to $500.

His biggest single gain was a $10,000 contribution from the lobbying arm of the Florida Justice Association.

Several medical and pharmaceutical businesses supported Jones in March. Centene Management Company, which operates 17 health care centers in Florida — including sites in Miami, Miami Gardens and Plantation — donated $2,500.

Nomi Health, which runs more than a dozen centers in South Florida, gave $1,500.

Molina Healthcare, Walgreens and the Florida Hospital Association each chipped in $1,000.

From the education sector, Jones received $2,500 from the Safe, Affordable Florida Education PAC and $2,000 from Teachers for Public School Excellence, a political committee led by American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Fredrick Ingram.

Two alcohol businesses donated as well. Quality Acquisition Company, a company under the umbrella of South Florida Anheuser-Busch distributor Eagle Brands Sales, gave $2,500. Gold Coast Beverage, a subsidiary of Reyes Beer Division, the largest beer distributor in the country, gave $1,500.

Jones also received $2,500 checks from Sentry Insurance; Floridians for Economic Advancement, a political committee that has supported state legislative candidates from both major parties; and SEIU 32BJ, the lobbying arm of a branch of the Service Employees International Union representing some 150,000 workers in Florida and more than 10 other states.

Auto dealership company JM Family Enterprises and its subsidiary, Southeast Toyota Distributors, each gave $1,000.

He also got $1,000 from the Florida Bankers Association, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hialeah-based limestone provider White Rock Quarries, and NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power and Light.

Jones spent roughly $34,000 in March, almost all of it on mail media consulting. His spending ledger shows he paid $10,000 apiece to Pembroke Pines-based Roane Consulting Group and Tallahassee-based Greenprint Strategies, plus another $9,000 to The Public Square, which is also headquartered in the state capital.

He spent about $2,000 on event catering, data tracking and transportation services. Another $1,000 went to Fathers MIA, a Broward nonprofit dedicated to promoting the importance of fathers in the household.

He also paid a $500 annual dues fee to the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

Ighodaro, meanwhile, collected just $6,500 in March between his campaign and political committee, Reignbows Florida PC, despite not being bound to the same fundraising restrictions as Jones.

As he did in March, Ighodaro loaned his campaign $1,000. He also received $800 in individual donations from two people.

Ighodaro’s largest donation was a $2,000 check he credited to Good Times USA, which his campaign denoted as a construction company. No such Florida-based company exists, according to the Florida Division of Corporations.

The company operating at the address listed alongside Good Times’ name on Ighodaro’s fundraising ledger is H&J Asphalt.

Ighodaro also accepted $1,000 from Miami accounting firm TCBA Watson Rice LLP, $1,000 from Tamarac-headquartered janitorial services company Chi-Ada Corp. and $700 from Miami Gardens property manager Residual Investments Inc.

Of the $1,650 Ighodaro spent last month, all but $150 went to Haitian-language radio show Zafe Pa Nou for “campaign communications.”

The show’s owner and host, Smith Cassamajor, has worked on several North Miami campaigns. A 2018 report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows Cassamajor, who has also directed at least one Haitian-language film, as having a lengthy rap sheet.

The Legislature approved a redistricting plan for the Senate and House in early February. Based on those maps, the heavily Democratic-leaning SD 34 now covers parts of Hialeah, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka and all of Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands and North Bay Village.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through March 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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