Andres Althabe tops four-person HD 113 field in March fundraising
Image via Facebook.

Althabe
Althabe faces Democratic Primary opponent A.J. D’Amico. Antonio Byrdsong and Alberto Perosch square off on the Republican side.

Democratic candidate Andres Althabe added nearly $19,000 in March toward his bid to take House District 113 this November, leading one other Democratic candidate and two Republican contenders in gains over the month.

Althabe, president of the Biscayne Neighbors Association, still places third overall in total funds raised so far. He launched his campaign in February with maxed-out $1,000 donations to his campaign account from several sources with identical addresses — a common workaround donors use to give in excess of what state law would otherwise prohibit.

Some of the companies that donated to him in February do business with the Quantum on the Bay Master Association, of which Althabe is president.

Last month, however, Althabe exclusively accepted donations from people.

Among the nearly 40 people who gave him checks ranging from $10 to $1,000: LSN Law partner Adele Valencia, a former director of code compliance for the city of Miami and legislative aide to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava during her tenure as County Commissioner.

Althabe held $38,000 in his campaign account after spending roughly $6,000 last month.

Most of that went to consulting. He paid $3,400 to Miami-based firm Codorniz Inc. for “campaign consulting” and “reimbursement for miscellaneous campaign expenses,” $1,100 to Pompano Beach-based consultant Marilyn Martino for “field consulting” and $180 to Claudia Sebatiani of Miami for “data consulting.”

The remainder went to campaign costs, including materials, event entertainment, apparel and a campaign telephone.

Democratic lawyer A.J. D’Amico, whom outgoing Rep. Nick Duran endorsed as his preferred successor, placed second last month in fundraising with more than $12,000 added to his campaign coffers.

After spending about $3,400, D’Amico held $45,000 as of March 31.

Almost 30 people gave D’Amico donations, some as low as $10. Former Democratic congressional candidate Scott Fuhrman gave $1,000. So did his wife, lawyer Lindsay Fuhrman.

Fuhrman listed his profession as “not employed” on D’Amico’s donations ledger. He’s the former Chairman and CEO of Miami-based juice company Lakewood Organic, whose website still lists him as leading the business.

Philip Jerez, political director for U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial campaign, gave $50. Jacksonville Assistant State Attorney Daniel Cardenas gave $10.

D’Amico also received $1,000 apiece from political committees New Dade and South Florida Vision.

Law firm Becker & Poliakoff, which attracted criticism following the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside last year for its hand in steering state condominium regulation laws, gave $500.

Almost all of D’Amico’s spending last month paid for “research” by Shield Research, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Republican candidate Antonio Byrdsong enjoyed his largest month of fundraising in March while largely maintaining the same fundraising strategy he’s employed since filing to run in August: self-dependence.

All of the $3,970 Byrdsong accepted last month came from his own bank account.

According to his campaign website, Byrdsong worked in the Washington metropolitan area as an event promoter and waiter before relocating to Miami Beach, where he works while pursuing an online political science degree from North Virginia Community College.

His LinkedIn page lists him as the founder of Byrd Enterprise, a Washington limited liability company. An inactive Orlando-based LLC called Byrd Digital is registered and cross-referenced with Byrd Enterprise on the Florida Division of Corporations under the name Demarcus Antonio Byrdsong.

He describes himself on his Twitter page as a First Amendment defender, NRA member and “Navy baby.”

As of March 31, Byrdsong had about $2, according to his campaign. He was fined $50 on March 25 for filing his campaign fundraising report late.

Most of his spending last month was for general upkeep. He paid $2,600 for “office space/storage” and another $35 for “web hosting.”

He also paid Lutz-based consultant Peter Cracchiolo $1,400.

Republican Alberto Perosch continued to lead the field in campaign war chest holdings with about $157,500 in pocket through March 31. That’s largely thanks to a $150,000 self-loan from February.

Last month, he added just over $3,000.

member of the Venezuelan American Republican Alliance and a recently registered voter,  Perosch is a past president of several now-inactive Florida-based companies.

Although he’s new as a candidate, Perosch — a pro-capitalism, anti-socialism political aspirant who has referred to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York as “the reincarnation of (Hugo) Chávez made woman” — boasts formidable local ties within his party.

He has rubbed elbows with Florida GOP bigwigs like Gov. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Sen. Manny Díaz Jr. and Rep. Alex Rizo. They and others stood behind and cheered Perosch on last year during a press conference highlighting DeSantis’ signing of a bill penalizing “Big Tech” for alleged conservative censorship.

Four people donated to Perosch last month. Two checks came in for $10. A third was for $200. His largest donation, a $1,000 check, came from Claudio Nieto, a Miami area real estate broker whose activity on Twitter is almost exclusively dedicated to pro-Donald Trump messaging.

Perosch spent $640 in March. Of that, $500 went to Coral Gables-based accounting firm Fiore CPA and $100 went to a checks order from City National Bank.

Post-redistricting, HD 113 covers a central portion of Miami-Dade, including the municipalities of Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Miami.

Candidates faced an April 11 deadline to report all campaign finance activity through the end of March.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to say Scott Fuhrman is no longer president and CEO of Lakewood Organic and to reflect information from Antonio Byrdsong’s campaign regarding the balance of his campaign account.

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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