Bryan Ávila hauls $77.5K in Q3 to defend SD 39 seat, with sizable gains from auto dealers
Give an inch: Bryan Ávila says the House has been generous to the nursing home industry.

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More than a third of his Q3 fundraising came from car dealerships, which gained added protections through legislation Ávila sponsored this year.

Miami Springs Republican Sen. Bryan Ávila is running for re-election in Senate District 39 unopposed, but he isn’t fundraising like it.

In the third quarter of 2023, Ávila raised $77,500 between his campaign account and political committee, Fighting for Florida’s Families.

None of it was grassroots. Every dollar he accepted came from a political or business interest.

More than a third of his Q3 gains came directly from car dealerships, which gained added protections this year through legislation Ávila sponsored banning most direct-to-consumer auto sales in Florida.

Last month Braman Motors and AutoNation, which helped to author the legislation and lobbied for it, respectively gave Ávila $15,000 and $7,500.

In February, the same month Ávila filed the bill, Braman gave him $10,000. The company did the same for Rep. Jason Shoaf, a Port St. Joe Republican who sponsored the bill in the House.

Ávila last month also accepted $10,000 more from Associated Industries of Florida, a business group representing major Florida companies such as Florida Crystals, U.S. Sugar, for-profit hospital company HCA Healthcare and Florida Power & Light.

The group was also among those that lobbied lawmakers about the car bill, according to state records.

AutoNation’s powerhouse lobbyist on the bill, Ron Book, gave Ávila $2,500 in March, shortly before the bill’s introduction in the Senate, and $4,000 last month.

Other lobbyist, consultancy and government relations donations to Ávila in Q3 included $10,000 from a Coral Gables branch of Capital City Consulting, consultant Jesse Manzano-Plaza of the Coral Gables-based firm Tridente Strategies, and Miami-based Jean-Paul Chavez, the co-founder of Miami-headquartered government affairs firm Vocero.

The firm’s principal, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, did not donate to Ávila last quarter. But his wife did. Cecilia Curbelo, the sister of former Miami Marlins, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees third baseman Mike Lowell, gave Ávila $1,500 in mid-July.

Ávila benefitted from the generosity of real estate and health care companies as well.

A Kansas-headquartered political donations arm of infrastructure engineering firm HNTB gave Ávila $10,000. APAC, a political action committee controlled by the Florida Apartment Association, chipped in $1,000.

He also received $2,500 apiece from Dallas-headquartered Tenet Healthcare, which boasts dozens of Florida locations, and VITAS Health, an end-of-life care provider based in Miramar.

Two subsidiaries of HCA Healthcare gave $2,000 combined.

Ávila reported no Q3 spending. As of Sept. 30, he held more than $1.1 million.

SD 39 covers a large portion of northwest Miami-Dade County, including all or parts of Doral, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Medley, Miami Lakes, Miami Springs, Sweetwater and Virginia Gardens.

Ávila was one of nearly a dozen South Florida legislators who coasted into their seats unopposed in June 2022. The former House Speaker Pro Tempore briefly mounted a bid for the Miami-Dade Commission before dropping out for a run at the Legislature’s upper chamber.

The Primary Election next year is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election Nov. 5.

Candidates faced a Tuesday deadline to report all campaign finance activity between July 1 and Sept. 30.

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.


One comment

  • Richard Russell

    October 9, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    How about that – big money donors won’t expect favors, or will they or have they already got their money’s worth.

Comments are closed.


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