Jim Mooney spends cycle-high $35K, mostly on campaign ads, to defend HD 120 seat
Image via Colin Hackley.

He also enjoyed ample campaign support from the Republican Party of Florida.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Mooney spent a cycle-high $35,000 last month to defend his seat representing House District 120, where he faces strong Primary competition in a rematch with GOP activist and local businessperson Rhonda Rebman Lopez.

Mooney also raised $30,000 through his campaign account and political committee, Friends of Jim Mooney, which held a combined $153,000 as of July 15.

Most of his June spending, nearly $19,000, went to New York-headquartered firm Mentzer Media Services for “advertising.” Mooney also paid $2,300 to Georgia-based The Stoneridge Group for additional advertising services and $5,100 to Tavernier-based Eye Catcher Signs for “campaign signs, magnets & stickers.”

Mooney had two significant expenditures last month: a $5,400 payment to Tallahassee consulting company Capital Resources LLC and the Florida Department of State’s $1,782 campaign qualifying fee.

His June gains came primarily through corporate and organizational donations. Seven people gave to his campaign last month through checks between $100 and $500.

Real estate and construction businesses, alcohol companies and insurers topped the list of Mooney’s corporate donors.

He received $2,000 from Associated Builders and Contractors and $1,000 apiece from Realtors Political Advocacy Committee and West Palm Beach-based builder B.H.L.M. LLC.

ABC Liquors and Gold Coast Beverages each gave $2,000. The Florida Association of Insurance Agents donated $1,000, as did IMPACT, a political committee chaired by Steve Clein, owner of C&C Insurance in South Florida.

Several companies under the ownership of billionaire car dealer and former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman contributed $4,000 combined.

Florida Power & Light parent company NextEra Energy gave $2,000. So did Real Property, Probate & Trust Law PAC, a political committee chaired by Port Ritchie lawyer Roland “Chip” Waller.

Mooney received $1,000 apiece from AT&T Florida, Florida Credit Union, Trademark Metals Recycling, Alger Farms, Pharmacists for Improved Health and the Baker Law Group.

He also enjoyed support from the Republican Party of Florida in the form of $24,300 worth of campaign staff services.

Lopez, meanwhile, raised more than $36,000 in June while spending about $12,000. She leaned far more on individual donations, collecting more than 30 personal checks. Some were as little as $20, though most were $200 or more.

Her largest personal donation was a $6,000 check from Jim McCarthy, president and CEO of Tom Thumb Food Stores. McCarthy’s wife donated another $1,000.

Plant Life Farms, a Homestead-based wholesale nursery, gave Lopez $5,000. The company’s chief technology officer, Stephen “Rusty” Garrison, gave $1,000 as well.

The preponderance of Lopez’s spending, $9,000, went to Miami-based consulting firm Dark Horse Strategies for direct mail services. She also spent $500 to place an ad with the Miami-Dade Transit System and roughly the same sum on “compliance consulting.”

The remainder of her spending covered staff wages and bank and donation fees.

This year’s Republican Primary for HD 120 is a rematch between Mooney and Lopez, who lost to the incumbent by 1 percentage point in 2020. And there has been no shortage of political mudslinging between the two candidates.

Also running in the GOP Primary is Robert Allen, president of Big Pine Key-based Barefoot Painting O.T.L.K. Inc., who through July 15 has raised $3,400 since filing to run in December. All but $100 is from his bank account.

Two Democrats are running to flip the HD 120 seat blue, political operative and lawyer Daniel Horton-Diaz and anti-corruption lawyer Adam Gentle.

While Gentle maintained a roughly $10,000 lead in campaign holdings through July 15, with $48,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Horton-Diaz led fundraising and spending efforts last month.

Horton-Diaz’s spending outpaced his fundraising in June when he took in more than $5,000 and spent $9,000.

All his June gains came by personal checks, some as low as $5 but four for $1,000.

He spent $2,000 on consulting. The rest covered campaign advertising, meeting, and upkeep costs. His two largest expenditures were a $2,700 payment to Miami-based Little River Press for a print advertisement and a $2,000 ad buy with The Gospel Truth Magazine in Cutler Bay.

Gentle raised about $3,600 and spent nearly $8,000 in June when he received 50 personal checks. The checks ranged in value from $2 to $500, though only 14 donors gave $100 or more.

His spending included $3,000 paid to Coral Gables-based Blue Velocity Consulting, $1,500 to Washington company Compete Digital LLC for “digital ads” and $500 to Key West-based Duval Street Media for website costs.

HD 120 spans all of Monroe County, which encompasses all of Monroe County and most of Everglades National Park, and the southernmost portion of Miami-Dade County, including parts of Homestead, Homestead Air Reserve Base and Biscayne National Park.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 23, followed by the General Election on Nov. 8.

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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