Vicki Lopez departs Senate contest to ‘avoid a contentious Primary battle,’ now running for HD 113

Vicki Lopez - Post
Lopez’s departure from Senate race means Alexis Calatyud will have unobstructed route to General Election.

Republican consultant Vicki Lopez has dropped her Florida Senate bid to instead contend for the GOP ticket in a race for House District 113, which spans a sizable portion of Miami-Dade County, including the heart of Miami and Key Biscayne.

Lopez’s campaign announced the change Friday in a joint statement with incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who thanked Lopez for switching contests to “avoid a contentious Primary battle” in Senate District 38.

“Vicki will be a great fighter for the people of House District 113, and I look forward to working with her when she is elected,” Passidomo said.

A longtime political activist, Lopez is a former member of the Lee County Commission. Her background includes work in state-appointed roles specializing in education, prison reentry and justice reform in the Senate and under former Govs. Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

She’s also held several leadership roles in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

“I have devoted my entire career to public service, and I look forward to leading on issues important to the district, such as fighting the rising costs of property insurance, keeping our communities safe, creating quality workforce housing, and protecting our constitutional rights,” she said.

Lopez’s departure from the Senate race means new Republican entrant Alexis Calatyud will have an unobstructed route to the General Election, where she’ll square off against first-time Democratic candidate Janelle Perez for the open SD 38 seat.

Perez has amassed $438,000 since August. Calatayud, who announced plans to run for office March 30, has yet to report anything between her campaign account and soon-to-be-formed political committee, Vision and Integrity for Florida.

In HD 113, Lopez will face at least two Republican opponents: Anthony Byrdsong, a former Washington-area event promoter and current student living on Miami Beach, and Venezuelan American Republican Alliance member Alberto Perosch.

Perosch, a past president of several now-inactive Florida companies who has rubbed elbows with several GOP bigwigs in the state, including Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, has raised about $162,000 since entering the race in February. Of that, $150,000 came from his own bank account.

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Bydsong is similarly running a mostly self-funded campaign and has loaned his campaign close to $15,000.

The winner of the three-way Republican Primary will face the victor of a two-way Democratic contest between Biscayne Neighbors Association President Andres Althabe and lawyer A.J. D’Amico, whom outgoing Rep. Nick Duran endorsed as his preferred successor.

Althabe has raised more than $59,000 since filing to run in HD 113 on Feb. 2, including a more than $7,000 haul last month. D’Amico, meanwhile, added more than $12,000 in April to bring his total gains to $79,000.

Lopez has been campaigning for less than two months, but she’s already in second place in overall funds raised. As of April 30, she held $142,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Common Sense Government.

That number is now more than $150,000, her campaign said Friday.

A significant portion of her April haul came through personal checks. More than 130 people gave to Lopez in increments as low as $25.

Her largest individual donation, a $5,000 check, came from Philanthropist Melinda Brown-Gonzalez, board member of Agape Network, a faith-based rehab nonprofit health center for women and families in Miami. She is the wife of City National Bank President and CEO Jorge Gonzalez.

Influential lobbyist Ron Book, father of Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, donated $2,500.

George Williamson of Miami-based Williamson Buick GMC gave $2,000.

TD Bank executive Felipe Basulto, a former chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, gave $1,000. So did Pedro Munilla, director of South Miami-headquartered construction firm MCM.

Lopez’s biggest gains were a pair of $7,500 donations. One came from BBB Supplies, a Miami-based durable goods company. The other was from the Law Offices of Fernando Pomares.

Other donations included $5,000 from Steele and Associates Claims Management Specialists¸$2,500 from Miami-based Global Marketing Group LLC and $1,000 from incoming Education Commissioner Manny Díaz Jr.’s political committee, Better Florida Education.

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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