Lauren Book spends $603K in May, raises $200K as her first ballot challenge approaches
The race advances to the litigious stage.

Most of the Democratic Senate Leader's spending went to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book raised $200,003 in May — an amount that dwarfs her challenger’s haul in the same month.

Campaign records show former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, challenging Book in Senate District 35, raised $5,124 in May.

The two Democrats are in one of the most-watched Senate Primary Elections, which happened as a result of the biennial redistricting process.

Book turned on the spending spigots last month: spending three times what she raised in May, campaign records show.

Between her personal account and her two political committees,  Leadership for Florida and Leadership for Broward, Book spent $603,857 in May. Most of those expenditures — $515,000 — went to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which goes to other legislative Democratic campaigns.

Her bigger donations in May were $21,000 from AFSCME, based in Washington; $12,500 each from two members of the Reyes family, Jude Reyes in West Palm Beach and J. Christopher Reyes in Rosemont, Illinois, who own a multibillion-dollar food and beverage distribution company; and $15,000 from Gold Coast Beverage Distributors of Miami. 

Book’s biggest check in May that did not go to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee went to MDW Communications in Plantation. The campaign spent $30,654 on communications and media services there. The campaign also spent $25,200 on marketing, split between four companies: $11,450 to CV Marketing Pembroke Pines; $6,405 with Good Catch of Miami, $4,845 to Our City Media of Weston and $2,500 to Inside Publications in Miramar.

Book’s campaign spent $15,000 on consulting; $5,000 to Edge Communications in Miami, $5,000 to Johnson Strategies in Wilton Manors and  $5,000 to Stephanie Bromfield & Associates in Miami.

After that spending, Book had nearly $2.4 million on hand for her campaign as of May 31.

Sharief, meanwhile, has $438,768 to challenge Book, with $500,000 coming from a loan the candidate made to her campaign.

Sharief spent $36,189 in May, with her biggest check going to JA Marketing in West Palm Beach, where she spent $9,793 for radio promotions. Bigger expenses in May included $5,173 for banners and signs from Accurate Business Solutions in Miami Gardens; $4,950 for bus ads from CV Marketing in Pembroke Pines; and $4,000 for consulting and management from Win on the Ground Consulting in Coral Springs.

Among Sharief’s May donations, three hit the $1,000 maximum: Keith Poliakoff, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer; Government Law Group of Fort Lauderdale; Dr. Lanetta Bronte-Hall of Southwest Ranches.

All but one of Sharief’s remaining 22 donations were $200 or less, with Mahammad Qureshi of Margate giving $500.

Book moved out of her Plantation home to avoid a Primary challenge with Sen. Rosalind Osgood, who was elected to represent Senate District 32 in March to the newly drawn SD 35.

But then Sharief, who had been on either the Miramar City Commission or the Broward County Commission for 13 years, entered the race, giving Book her first ballot challenge since entering the legislative arena in 2016.

SD 35 covers a chunk of Broward County south of Interstate 595 and west of Florida’s Turnpike. Pembroke Pines and Miramar account for most of it but also has all or parts of Cooper City, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise and Weston.

The campaigns faced a Friday deadline to report all financial activity through May 31.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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