Democratic lawyer and community leader Ashley Gantt took the front-runner position in a fundraising race for House District 109 last month, when she collected $18,000 in her bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Opa-locka Rep. James Bush III.
As of April 30, Gantt had more than $40,000 in her campaign account, or roughly $2,500 less than she raised since entering the race in March.
Nearly 130 people donated to her campaign last month through personal checks of between $10 and $1,000. Most contributions came in at less than $50.
She had several noteworthy donors. Miami Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo gave $1,000. Tahlia Gray, a procurement analyst for the city of Miami, gave $300. Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert chipped in $175. Gun control activist David Hogg, a student survivor of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, donated $100.
Gantt also received a $50 donation from Ruth’s List Florida Political Director Kayla vanWieringen.
Ruth’s List Florida donated $1,000 to Gantt’s campaign in March and endorsed her over Bush. The organization cited Bush’s “troubling career of putting special interest ahead of the community” as its reason, noting he was “the only Democrat in the entire Legislature” to vote for a 15-week abortion ban and a controversial parental rights law critics labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which restricts discussion of gender and sexual preference in public schools.
Other gains included $400 Gantt gave her campaign and a $250 contribution from The Miami Women’s PAC, a political committee chaired by communications specialist Marika Lynch.
Gantt spent about $2,000 in April, nearly half of it on printed materials from Miami Gardens-based company Accurate Business Systems.
She also spent more than $700 on donation processing fees.
Gantt is the founder and managing partner of criminal defense, estate planning, probation litigation and personal injury law firm Gantt Legacy Law P.A. in Miami. She is a former teacher. Prior to her legal career, she taught with Teach for America and in middle and high school classrooms with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
She is also a former member of the Miami-Dade County Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust, an appointed panel that oversees the use of billions of dollars collected through the countywide half-percent surtax known as the “half-penny.”
A retired teacher, Bush is among the most experienced state lawmakers in Florida, having served three separate stints representing HD 109 in the House dating back to 1992.
Last month, he added just $2,500 to his campaign coffers after forgoing two months of fundraising due to the 2022 Legislative Session.
His April gains came through four donations. Three people gave $500. His only $1,000 contribution came from former pro basketballer and current Miami Heat Vice President of Player Programs Alonzo Mourning, whose name and that of his ex-wife, Tracy, graces a public secondary school in North Miami.
Bush spent $1,500 last month, all of it on marketing, canvassing and event services.
HD 109 is a heavily Democratic-leaning district that spans north-central Miami-Dade, including parts of Hialeah, Miami, Miami Lakes, North Miami and Opa-locka.
Candidates faced a May 10 deadline to report all campaign finance activity through the end of April.