With $72K haul, Wallace Aristide leads Miami-Dade Commission field in May fundraising

Wallace Aristide
Aristide, a former high school principal, is seeking the District 2 seat.

Former high school principal Wallace Aristide amassed nearly $72,000 last month to lead a six-person fundraising field for the Miami-Dade County Commission seat representing District 2.

His May haul, nearly double the gains of his closest fundraising competitor, pulled him into second place overall. He now holds $250,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Miami Dade District 2 United.

Aristide enjoyed ample support from the real estate sector, including $10,000 donations from Miami-headquartered international firm OKO Group, Miami Lakes-based Centennial Management Corp. and Sunny Isles-based builder Humberto Ortiz.

He received a combined $6,000 from LSN Law and its consultancy arm, LSN Partners. Miami Shores Village Council member Crystal Wagar, a partner at LSN Law, gave $500.

Racetrack and gambling company West Flagler Associates gave $5,000. So did two political committees chaired by Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert: New Leadership for Florida and Engaged Florida.

Of $23,000 Aristide spent last month, Ulvert received $4,000. The remainder covered supplies, campaigning costs, processing fees and advertising.

Despite collecting less than Aristide, North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime still maintained a comfortable fundraising lead last month, when he collected $25,000 through his campaign and political committee, Progressive Advocates for Change.

Altogether, he holds more than $386,000.

Bien-Aime also leaned on real estate businesses in May. Four companies tied to the Liberty Square development in Miami gave him $4,000. He also received $3,000 from subsidiaries of billionaire developer Jorge Pérez’s Related Group and $2,000 from North Miami company The Zenith 79 LLC.

He also received $5,000 from five lawyers at Miami legal and lobbying firm Bilzin Sumberg.

Roughly 90% of the $37,000 Bien-Aime spent in May went to consulting companies. He also spent $4,000 on radio advertisements.

Third in fundraising last month — and third in fundraising overall — was Marliene Bastien, a licensed clinical social worker who runs Family Action Network Movement, a nonprofit that advocates for low-income communities.

In May, Bastien pulled in $17,000. After spending close to $11,000, most of it on consulting costs, she had $187,000 left.

More than 35 people donated to Bastien’s campaign, with checks ranging from $25 to $1,000. Among her noteworthy contributors: former Miami-Dade Commissioner Kathryn Sorenson.

Several South Florida businesses also contributed, including Gousse Urology in Miramar, I Bladder Health and Reconstruction in Aventura, Fort Lauderdale-based Manor Medical Center and TNT Tax Accounting.

William Clark, a teacher-turned-county firefighter, held on to fourth place by collecting more than $14,000 through his campaign account. By May 31, he had about $36,000 left.

Clark received 40 personal checks, some as low as $20, in addition to a handful of corporate contributions. None exceeded $1,000.

He spent $3,600 on advertising, campaign food and general upkeep. His largest expenditure, $2,100, covered a purchase of campaign banners.

Former North Miami Mayor Josaphat “Joe” Celestin continued to struggle in fundraising last month, when he gathered just four $1,000 donations from a salesperson, restaurant professional and a pair of people in the construction business.

He spent $3,000, most of it on radio advertising, leaving just under $18,000 in his campaign account.

Finally, there’s Monique Barley-Mayo, who continued her policy of neither raising nor spending a cent. The county elections website still lists her as an active candidate, but the only one who has yet to qualify for the race.

District 2 spans portions of Miami, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, Hialeah and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Liberty City, North Dade Central and Biscayne Gardens.

The district’s current Commissioner, Jean Monestime, must leave office this year due to term limits voters approved in 2012.

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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