Michael Grieco gains $27K, leads SD 36 fundraising for second straight month
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/3/22-Rep. Mike Grieco, D-Miami Beach, makes his farewell speech, Thursday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Grieco is trying to jump from the House to the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco outraised incumbent Republican Sen. Ileana García for the second straight month in April, when both candidates enjoyed help from their respective parties to gain stronger footholds in a recently remapped Senate District 36.

Grieco amassed more than $27,000 last month between his campaign account and political committee, Strong Leadership for South Florida, through a blend of personal donations and corporate real estate contributions.

He’s raised more than $258,000 since November, when he announced he would forgo seeking a third House term to instead run for the state Senate. As of April 30, he had about $232,000.

More than 50 people gave Grieco checks last month, ranging from $5 to $5,000. Among them: South Florida developer Sandor Scher, Pinecrest Councilmember Anna Hockhammer, Metropolitan Opera President and CEO Fraya Lindemann, and Joshua Wallack, chief operating officer of Wallack Holdings and co-owner of nightclub Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando.

Four companies linked to South Florida real estate development giant Terra — which last year secured a 97-year development and lease deal with Miami-Dade County for a 43-acre mixed development near Dolphin Mall — donated a combined $6,000.

Miami Beach-based real estate and brokerage firm Koniver Stern Group chipped in $1,000, as did Floridians Associated to Insure Responsible Laws, a political committee run by criminal defense lawyer Aaron Wayt of Tallahassee firm Pumphrey Law.

Grieco also received more than $42,000 worth of in-kind contributions from the Florida Democratic Party for research, payroll and payroll taxes.

He spent about $12,000, most of it on consulting and campaigning. His largest expense was a $5,000 payment to Pollara Consulting Group, a Coral Gables-based firm run by political consultant and medical marijuana activist Ben Pollara.

Other expenses included a more than $3,000 advertising buy with Extensive Enterprises, the parent company of Florida Politics, and $2,500 for campaign outreach.

García, who is seeking re-election two years after winning a razor-thin contest stained by a “ghost candidate” scheme, raised more than $22,000 in April after refunding $4,000 in prior contributions.

Since taking office, she has raised nearly $550,000 between her campaign and political committee, No More Socialism. By the end of April, she had more than $504,000 left.

García last month returned $1,000 apiece to law firm McGuirewoods, government relations specialist Albert Balido, Robert M. Levy Associates Vice President Jose Diaz and People for Accountable Government, a political committee chaired by Miami-Dade Commissioner and Miami-Dade GOP Chair René García.

Most of her April gains came from medical and legal businesses.

Tallahassee government relations firm Johnson & Blanton donated $4,000 through four companies. Miami-based Galbut Walters & Associates gave $3,000 through three interrelated entities.

García also got $2,500 from Miami lobbyist firm Pereira Reyes Consulting Inc. and $1,000 apiece from South Florida-based law firms  The Alvarez Law Firm, Nunez Law and Silverberg Brito.

The Florida Orthopaedic Society donated $2,000. So did the Florida Medical Association.

Nicholas Antonacci, vice president of Developing Options for Seniors (DOS) Health Care, added $1,000. Miami-based Al Brizuela Engineering donated $2,000.

Diana Dellaratta, director of Miami Beach private school BaseCamp305, gave $1,000. Better Florida Fund Corp, a political committee run by Venice-based ear, nose and throat doctor Michael Patete, gave the same.

García received more than $31,500 worth of in-kind contributions from the Republican Senatorial Committee for polling, campaign staff, consulting and research.

Of the $2,000 she spent, half went to the campaign of Shawn Harrison, a former Republican Representative now running for Senate.

Another $567 paid for “advertising” through The Havana Collection, a clothing store in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

After redistricting plans the Legislature approved in early February, SD 36 covers a center-east portion of Miami-Dade spanning the lower half of Miami Beach, a large portion of Miami, including the barrier island of Virginia Key, and parts of the cities of Coral Gables and Sweetwater.

Candidates faced a Tuesday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through April 30.

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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