Demi Busatta Cabrera adds $42K in May for HD 114 defense
Image via Colin Hackley

She holds more than three times the funding of her lone Democratic opponent.

Coral Gables Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera added $42,000 to her House District 114 campaign coffers in May with assistance from several deep-pocketed corporations, one fellow Republican lawmaker from South Florida, and one of the state’s chief business associations.

After some light spending, she had more than $259,000 at the end of the month between her campaign account and political committee, People Above Politics, to fend off her sole Democratic challenger.

Busatta Cabrera’s most significant single donation was a $15,000 check from the political committee Florida Prosperity Fund. The committee’s chair, Brewster Bevis, is president and CEO of the Associated Industries of Florida, which derives the majority of its funding from six companies: sugar giants Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar, for-profit hospital operator HCA Healthcare Inc., state utility giant Florida Power & Light, health insurer Florida Blue and Walt Disney World.

Cabrera was one of 70 GOP House members to vote in favor of dissolving Disney’s special Reedy Creek district in April.

She also received $5,000 apiece from Simply Healthcare Plans Inc., a Cincinnati-headquartered coordinated care plan, and the lobbying arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which also distributes donations for Disney.

A political committee backing Miami Republican Rep. Vance Aloupis, who in March said he would not seek a third term in the House, gave $4,000.

The Republican Party of Florida also chipped in, giving $6,500 worth of in-kind campaign help.

Cabrera spent more than $5,000 in May. That included $1,000 donations to Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago, House District 119 candidate Juan Porras and Monica Colucci, an elementary school teacher now running to unseat longtime Miami-Dade County Public School Board member Marta Pérez.

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Adam Benna raised about $6,000, all of it through his campaign proper. His political committee, Sunshine Priorities, didn’t take in a cent last month.

As of May 31, the South Miami lawyer’s war chest amounted to slightly less than $83,000.

More than 40 people donated to his campaign last month; many gave less than $20. Among his noteworthy donors is Mitchell Kaplan, the owner of the South Florida bookstore company Books & Books who has also produced a few feature films in recent years.

Benna, who launched his campaign against Busatta Cabrera in January, also accepted more than $5,000 last month in aid from the Florida Democratic Party for payroll taxes and campaign banners.

More than half the $2,500 he spent last month covered accounting and compliance costs. The remainder went to event food and campaign T-shirts.

HD 114 covers part of Miami-Dade’s southern coast, including portions of Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and a large chunk of Coral Gables. The district could prove to be a toss-up later this year.

Candidates faced a Friday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through the end of May.

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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