Demi Busatta Cabrera enjoys best round of fundraising by far this cycle for HD 114 defense
'Bill of Rights': Demi Busatta Cabrera seeks to bring legal protections of firefighters in line with police.

In terms of sheer numbers, no industry donated to Cabrera more since Sept. 1 than health care.

Republican Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera collected more than $103,000 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9 — her best round of fundraising by far to defend the seat representing House District 114 that she won handily two years ago.

Her prior best round of fundraising this election cycle was last September, when she amassed $67,000.

A month and a half before the Nov. 8 election, the freshman Representative from Coral Gables held about $372,000 between her campaign account and political committee, People Above Politics, to fend off her comparatively underfunded challenger, Democratic lawyer Adam Benna.

Several political committees donated to Cabrera’s campaign over the last month, including the lobbying arms of the Everglades Water Trust, Capital City Consulting and Florida Justice Association, which each gave her $5,000.

A Stronger Florida, a political committee chaired by Rubin Turnbull and Associates Director of Operations Celeste Camm, gave $4,500.

In terms of sheer numbers, no industry donated to Cabrera more since Aug. 1 than the health care sector. She received $3,000 from Nashville-headquartered company Wellpath, $2,500 from Centene Management Co. and Orange Park Nursing LLC, $2,000 from Davita and insurance giant Humana, and $1,500 from pharma mammoth Pfizer.

Miami-based Independent Living Systems, Florida Ambulatory Surgical Centers, South Florida Vision, Florida Medical Association, Dade County Medical Association, Council of Florida Family Practitioners and Florida Society of Anesthesiologists donated $1,000 apiece.

Other non-medical trade groups and unions chipped in as well. Dade County Firefighters Local 1403 gave Cabrera $6,000, her second-biggest contribution over the period. The Florida Engineers Political Action Committee gave $1,000.

Cabrera’s largest check was for $7,500. It came from Tampa-based holding company TECO Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian multinational company Emera Inc.

Other noteworthy contributions included $5,000 form Dosal Tobacco, $4,000 from Associated Builders and Contractors, $4,000 from companies belonging to Clewiston agriculture behemoth U.S. Sugar Corp., $3,500 from NBCUniversal Media, $2,500 from Anheuser-Busch and $1,000 from American Airlines.

Cabrera got ample help from the Republican Party of Florida, which gave nearly $11,000 worth of in-kind aid for campaign staff and research costs.

She also spent about $8,500. Of that, $1,000 went to the campaign of Ivette Arango O’Doski, who is running for the Coral Gables City Commission. Cabrera gave another $1,000 to the failed judicial campaign of Renier Diaz de la Portilla, younger brother to Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla and former state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla.

The preponderance of Cabrera’s spending, $4,300, went to Tampa-based campaign communications and consulting firm SimWins, one of several companies and individuals Coral Gables City Commissioner Jorge Fors Jr. named in a defamation lawsuit he filed with the 11th Judicial Circuit Court Thursday.

Fors is suing Cabrara’s husband, Kevin Marino Cabrera, among others, for partaking in a “civil conspiracy” to malign his public image ahead of the Nov. 8 election. The two men are competing in a runoff for the District 6 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Benna, meanwhile, raised just over $12,000 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9 through his campaign account and political committee, Sunshine Priorities, thanks to a blend of grassroots and organizational gains.

He also got a boost from the Florida Democratic Party, which contributed $12,400 worth of in-kind aid for campaign staff salaries, payroll taxes and research costs.

He had more than $85,000 remaining as of Sept. 9.

Nearly 40 people donated to Benna’s campaign, with some checks coming in for as low as $1. Matthew Lonk, senior director of sales at Orlando-based solutions company Stax Payments, donated $1,200. Former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence, founder and Chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida, contributed $150.

He also accepted $2,000 from government affairs firm DC-SOFL and $1,000 each from Miami-based Affiliated Healthcare Centers and Tallahassee-headquartered political committee The Ballot Box PC.

Benna appeared to take a break from campaign spending throughout August and in early September. He reported spending just over $300, all of it on fundraising fees.

HD 114 covers part of Miami-Dade’s southern coast, including portions of Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and a large chunk of Coral Gables.

Election Day is on Nov. 8. Early voting for the General Election in Miami-Dade begins Oct. 24 and runs through Nov. 6.

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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