Shevrin Jones raises $20K, spends $40K in May toward second SD 34 term
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/07/22-Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, listens to a response to his question during debate on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Most of Jones' spending in May covered campaigning and consulting costs.

Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones raised $20,000 and spent twice that sum in May to defend his seat representing Senate District 34.

Despite that healthy bit of spending, he still had more than $31,000 — almost double the combined holdings of three others vying for the seat — between his campaign account and political committee at the end of the month.

Jones collected more than 100 donations in May, almost all through personal checks of between $3 and $1,000.

His largest gain was a $10,000 contribution from One Positive Step, Inc., a political committee run by Merick Lewin, Chair of Take Stock in Children of Broward County and CEO of TriSpark Media, an advertising and marketing company in Plantation.

Gassant Enterprises LLC, a South Florida-headquartered supply chain and procurement service company, gave $1,000. Teachers to Tallahassee, a nonprofit that backs teachers running for elected office, donated half that.

The largest bulk of Jones’ spending in May, about $15,000, covered “mail media consulting” fees with several Florida-based firms. He spent nearly the same amount on various fundraising events in and around Miami and Miami Gardens.

He also traveled quite a bit, as evidenced by roughly $5,300 in associated costs.

Other expenditures included a $1,500 donation to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, $1,000 to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission campaign of Yvette DuBose, $300 on text message-based fundraising and $250 to the re-election campaign of Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons.

Jones is facing two Primary challengers — consultant Pitchie Escarment and former Miami Gardens Council member Erhabor Ighodaro.

Ighodaro raised $10,000 last month. He ran against Jones in 2020 and drew rebukes for comments critics labeled as homophobic and indirectly aimed at Jones, the first openly gay Black lawmaker elected to the Legislature and Florida’s first out state Senator.

Most of Ighodaro’s May haul came through personal checks ranging from $120 to a $1,500 donation to his political committee, Reignbows Florida PC.

As of May 31, he held more than $12,000 between his PC and campaign account after spending about $1,700. Almost all of that was to cover printing costs at Hialeah-based business Walter Haas Graphics.

Escarment, meanwhile, raised nothing and spent more than $600, reducing her campaign account holdings to about $4,200.

All but $30 of her spending was on advertising and campaign flyers.

The lone Republican competing in the contest is Antonio Byrdsong, who had previously been running for a seat in the House. On June 1, Byrdsong filed a redesignation letter with the Division of Elections stating his intention of running in SD 34.

Neither of the two addresses he listed with the Division place him in SD 34. One places him in Senate District 36. The other places him in Senate District 31.

Byrdsong, a self-described First Amendment defender, NRA member and “Navy baby,” raised just $234 last month. Four people donated between $5 and $45 to his campaign. The remainder was self-given, which is true for almost all of his gains this election cycle.

He listed more than $5,400 worth of in-kind contributions — goods or services provided to a campaign for free or at a discount — on his campaign ledger last month. That included $4,500 for storage and office space and another $900 for campaign travel, office equipment and petition-related costs.

Byrdsong also donated $9 apiece to the campaigns of incumbent Miami Sen. Ileana Garcia, incumbent Miami-Dade County Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, House District 96 candidate Jenna Hague, House District 106 candidate Wena “Lynn Su” Sutjapojnukul and Miami-Dade Commission candidate Orlando Lamas.

The heavily Democratic-leaning SD 34 now covers parts of Hialeah, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka and all of Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands and North Bay Village.

Candidates faced a Friday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through May 31.

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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