Democratic Senate Leader Lauren Book reached a new personal record for monthly fundraising in June, drawing $539,000 in contributions.
Book has a Democratic rival on the ballot for the first time in her political career and it’s produced one of the most-watched legislative races in the state.
There’s no Republican in the race, so Aug. 23 will be an open Primary for Senate District 35, with all registered voters in the district eligible to vote for either candidate, regardless of political party, which could present a new wrinkle in the contest.
Already, redistricting prompted Book to move from Plantation to Davie to avoid a Primary with incumbent Democratic Sen. Rosalind Osgood. But SD 35 is also the home of former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, who has been representing constituents in the district since 2009, either sitting on the Miramar City Commission or the Broward County Commission.
In the money race, Book has lapped Sharief many times over. Sharief, who has her own home health care business, has taken in $29,231 in donations for the entire election cycle and largely self-funded her campaign.
Book received her biggest boost from numerous political committees, with Miami’s Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo’s committee New Opportunity Florida sending her $100,000, her biggest donation of the month. Political committees represented her biggest source of support — accounting for $179,500 in June.
Political committees of companies sent money, like AT&T’s and so did committees representing trades and professions, such as one for obstetricians and gynecologists.
Donors representing real estate interests accounted for a total of $57,000 of her donations and luxury automobile dealers collectively sent her $43,000.
A Deerfield Beach property management company, Hillsboro 56 LLC, sent her campaign $50,000. She received $20,000 from Orcinus Ocra LLC, a Chatham, New Jersey media consulting company and Greater Florida Leadership Group PC, based in Tallahassee.
Notable names on her donor list include the ubiquitous personal injury lawyer and Democratic Party supporter John Morgan of Orlando who gave $5,000. Keith Koenig, president of City Furniture, based in Plantation, gave $10,000. North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey gave $1,000 as did Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich of Weston.
Book sent $100,000 to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, based in Tallahassee. That was her largest subtraction in June. Among other expenses were $63,000 with Edge Communications in Miami for consulting; $19,083 to MDW Communications in Plantation for communications and media services and $14,741 to Clearview Research in Tallahassee for research services and polling.
Sharief, meanwhile, raised $15,722 in June between her personal account and her political committee, Real Empowerment for the People, which showed up in her campaign document filings June 28. Her largest donation was $10,000 from Next Generation Properties in Winter Haven.
In June, Sharief spent $97,880. Major June expenses were $25,768 to Accurate Business System in Miami Gardens for shirts, signs and handouts, $21,384 to JA Marketing of West Palm Beach for radio advertising; $21,037 to Telemundo in Miramar for advertising and $12,151 to Effectv in Boston for advertising.
After those expenses, Sharief’s campaign had $355,933 in its coffers, counting the $500,000 she loaned her campaign in April.
The newly mapped district that had no active incumbent until Book moved there covers a chunk of unincorporated Broward County south of Interstate 595 and west of Florida’s Turnpike. Pembroke Pines and Miramar account for most of it, but it also includes all or parts of Cooper City, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise and Weston.
Both campaigns faced a Friday deadline to report all financial activity through July 1.