Frederica Wilson adds $70K in Q1 to fend off new Primary challengers
Frederica Wilson is pushing for a national mask mandate. Image via AP.

She now faces two Democratic Primary opponents: former Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and county police officer Kevin Harris.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson had her best round of fundraising in three quarters over the first few months of 2022, raking in close to $70,000 to defend her seat representing Florida’s 24th Congressional District.

Wilson has raised more than $280,000 this election cycle. Combined with rollover funds from prior campaigns, she holds about $539,000.

It remains to be seen how much she dips into those funds to fend off two Republican opponents and a pair of Primary challengers, including new entrant Audrey Edmonson, a former Miami-Dade County Commissioner who left office in 2020 due to term limits.

Nearly 30 people gave to Wilson between Jan. 1 and March 31 through checks ranging from $250 to $2,900 — half the maximum of what candidates can accept from individual donors. Individual donations are capped at $2,900 apiece for the Primary and General elections.

Among Wilson’s noteworthy first-quarter donors: former Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and former Miami-Dade Commissioner Kathryn Sorenson. Sorenson served alongside Edmonson on the county dais for five years.

The bulk of Wilson’s gains came through corporate and organizational contributions. That included $5,000 donations from the lobbying arms of AT&T, UnitedHealth Group and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry.

Wilson spent close to $26,000 in Q1. All but $4,000 of it went to consulting and rent.

Edmonson, who served as Miami-Dade Commission Chair and Vice Chair during her 15-year tenure on the Board, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission March 23. The former El Portal Mayor announced plans to run one day earlier.

Between then and the end of the quarter, Edmonson added $3,000 to her campaign coffers.

The bulk of it, $2,500, came from T. Willard Fair, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami. Miramar-based Democratic political committee Miami-Dade and Broward United gave the rest.

Wilson’s closest competitor, fundraising-wise, is Republican Lavern Spicer, who is running “to expose the lies of the Left and end the Democrats’ destruction of Black America.”

Spicer all but matched Wilson in fundraising during the final quarter of 2021, but her financial supply wasn’t nearly as plentiful after New Year’s Day. Through the end of March, she added just over $34,000 and spent $4,000 more than that.

Close to 40 people donated directly to Spicer’s campaign. Checks ranged from $25 to $1,000.

Spicer also loaned herself $2,700, bringing her self-funding total to more than $13,000 this cycle.

She recorded no corporate or organizational donations.

Of her spending, $7,500 went to Arsenal Media Group for “media consulting services.” She paid $1,600 to consultant Joey Mannarino, $1,000 for lodging at an Orlando campaign event, $625 for email marketing and a $260 event registration fee to the Florida Federation of Republican Women.

The remainder covered merchant and fundraising fees, fundraising commissions, meals, staff payments, event registrations, supplies and general upkeep.

Democratic Miami-Dade County police officer Kevin Harris is the only other candidate in the race to report any fundraising. In Q1, his campaign took in close to $10,000.

FEC reports show he filed to run in CD 24 in November. However, he only began fundraising in mid-January.

Of the money he took in, $3,000 was self-loaned and $5,250 came from a family member. Miami Realtor Chelsey Walters gave another $2,000.

After spending $7,500 — all of it on Washington-based consulting firm The Politics Company — Harris had about $2,300 left by the end of the quarter.

The FEC lists Republican Patricia Gonzalez as also running in CD 24 and shows her having filed a statement of candidacy in November. She has not reported any fundraising or spending since.

Democrat Christine Alexandria Olivo, who last year mounted a Primary challenge against Wilson, switched races in mid-March to instead challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart in Florida’s 25th Congressional District.

Wilson is seeking a seventh term in CD 24, which has historically been a fairy compact and safe district for Democrats. Based on analyses by MCI Maps and Florida Politics, it will remain so if the new congressional map drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by the Legislature stands.

DeSantis’ map brings the district slightly southward, cutting Hollywood out while leaving in sections of West Park and Pembroke Pines.

The district primarily covers a north-central portion of Miami-Dade, including Miami, Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, North Miami, Opa-locka, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Bay Harbor Islands, Sunny Isles Beach and Aventura, as well as parts of Hialeah and Miami Lakes.

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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