Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones of Miami Gardens notched his second-highest month of spending this election cycle in June, when he exhausted nearly $64,000 on costs mostly tied to campaign mailers and fundraising efforts.
He also collected more than $122,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Florida Strong Finish. By the end of the month, he still had about $90,000 remaining for the Senate District 34 race.
That’s still almost four times what his two Primary challengers, consultant Pitchie “Peachy” Escarment and former Miami Gardens City Council member Erhabor Ighodaro, held at the end of the month.
Jones spent $27,500 alone on “media mail consulting.” His largest payout, a $14,500 check, went to MDW Communications, a Plantation-based political advertising agency led by strategist Michael Worley.
The company website’s front page features Jones among its marquee clients.
Jones paid $4,000 to David Metellus, a political consultant and director of policy and politics for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and $4,500 apiece to Fort Lauderdale-based TLE Analytics and The Public Square LLC in St. Petersburg. All the expenditures were marked for “media mail consulting.”
Another $2,000 went toward campaign signage and an advertisement on the Haitian-language radio show Zafe Pa Nou, perhaps to counter $1,500 worth of “campaign communications” Ighodaro bought from the program in March.
Jones spent roughly $21,000 on fundraising, including a $13,000 payment to Tampa-based consultant Janee Murphy, $6,300 on a fundraising event at the Opal Key Restaurant in Key West and $1,500 on a Leadership Broward Foundation event sponsorship.
The remainder of his spending covered air travel, car rentals, lodging, campaign supplies and legal services.
More than 230 people donated directly to Jones’ campaign last month. Most checks came in at less than $5.
Among his noteworthy donors: Tallahassee lobbyist Ron Book and Scott Bennett, Chair of the Wilton Manors-based LGBTQ nonprofit Our Fund. Both men gave Jones’ political committee $5,000.
His largest June gain was a $25,000 contribution from New Opportunity Florida, a political committee backing Miami Sen. Jason Pizzo. Pizzo last month coasted into re-election in Senate District 37 after no opponent filed to challenge him. That left Pizzo with more than $390,000 in his committee alone to spend on other races.
Jones received $15,000 donations from Blank PC, a political committee run by Fort Lauderdale lawyer Jason Blank; Florida Justice PC, a political committee run by Orlando lawyer Tiffany Faddis; and NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light.
Orlando-based ABC Liquors Inc. chipped in $10,000, as did the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the largest trade union of public employees in the country. AFSCME has given Jones $17,500 this cycle.
Other noteworthy contributions to Jones’ campaign include $5,000 from the Auto Care Association and donations amounting to the same from several companies owned by billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who successfully scored a Legislature-approved tax break for tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix event at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Ross owns South Florida Motorsports, which holds exclusive rights to host Formula One events for 10 years at the stadium, which owns as well.
Ighodaro, meanwhile, spent more than $26,000 last month, or roughly $1,000 less than he raised. As of June 30, he held about $19,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Reignbows Florida PC.
His largest expenditure, $15,000, went to Pembroke Pines-based Urban Initiatives Inc. for “campaign management services.” Another $6,300 covered printing, signage and campaign outreach costs.
June marked Ighodaro’s best fundraising month since he entered the race in February, thanks to a $20,000 self-loan.
The rest of his gains came primarily from the real estate sector.
Seven people gave to Ighodaro’s campaign in June, with the lowest check coming in at $485. The largest personal donation he received was $2,500 from Chester Bishop, president and CEO of MortgageGrants.com and Chair of the Housing Foundation of America, a nonprofit servicing the tri-county area.
Escarment, who also filed to run against Jones in February, continued to trail her Primary opponents in fundraising with just over $2,000 amassed last month.
All but $50 of that came from one source: former North Miami Police officer turned restaurateur Ananias Pierre, who gave $1,000 directly and a matching donation through his business, Pierre’s Caribbean Cuisine.
Escarment spent $1,500 in June on signs and a radio spot on WLQY, a world music station broadcast primarily in Haitian Creole serving Greater Miami.
That left her with $4,800 as of July 1.
SD 34 covers a large portion of northeast Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Opa-locka.
The Primary Election is on Aug 23. Since only Democrats are competing in the district, the victor of that contest will win the SD 34 seat.
Candidates faced a Friday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through July 1.