Daniella Levine Cava far outraises Miami-Dade Mayor challengers in Q4, celebrates $3M haul in 2023
Daniella Levine Cava is Miami-Dade's de facto Sheriff.

Her largest single contribution was a $25K check from the publicly traded company that owns Florida Power & Light.

Democratic Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is starting 2024 with a bang, reporting a more than $421,000 haul last quarter to bring her 2023 fundraising total to $3.2 million.

Campaign spending through New Year’s Day brought her holdings to $2.3 million between her campaign account and political committee (PC), Our Democracy.

In a statement, Levine Cava — the county’s first woman Mayor and first Jewish person to hold the office — expressed gratitude for the support she’s received, including close to 13,000 petition signatures toward getting her on the ballot without a fee.

“Together, we are investing in a future-ready Miami-Dade that uplifts and protects every resident and family,” she said. “I am humbled by the community’s overwhelming support and I remain committed to leading Miami-Dade with vision and integrity while working hard to deliver results for everyone.”

More than 400 people and about 80 companies and PCs wrote checks to Levine Cava in the fourth quarter of 2023 (Q4).

Among the noteworthy personal checks she received: $20,000 from former pro goalkeeper Daría Sala, director of soccer operations for sports management company Agrinzonis; $10,000 from Adalberto Sotero, CEO of insurance adjustment company FalconTrust Group; $6,000 from philanthropist and former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning; and $4,000 from Alice Bravo, a former Miami-Dade Transportation Director who in May launched her own consulting firm.

As was the case in prior fundraising periods, Levine Cava benefitted from the generosity of real estate companies. Sunset Opportunities LLC, the holding company of the Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami, gave the Mayor $15,000.

Redwood Development, a subsidiary of Bas Holdings, donated $10,000. Residential remodeling company Space Invaders LLC gave half that.

Her largest single contribution was a $25,000 check from NextEra Energy, a publicly traded company that owns Florida Power and Light.

Other donations included $10,000 from outdoor media company Insight Street Media, $6,000 from the American Beverage Association and $5,000 from red light camera company RedSpeed.

Levine Cava spent almost $360,000 in Q4. Three of every four dollars went to a consulting company.

The biggest earner was EDGE Communications, a firm owned and operated by her senior adviser and chief strategist Christian Ulvert. Levine Cava paid $107,000 to EDGE in Q4, plus $34,000 to WIN Canvass, another firm Ulvert owns.

She also paid $80,000 to MDW Communications, $41,000 to GW Strategies, which her Finance Director, Greg Goddard runs, and $20,000 to Communications Director Claire VanSusteren’s firm, CVS Comms LLC.

Levine Cava’s political donations included a $50,000 contribution to the Florida Democratic Party and $5,000 to Engaged Florida, a PC that Ulvert chairs.

The rest of her spending covered outreach, food, equipment and various campaign upkeep costs.

Republican Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid, who announced his candidacy against Levine Cava in September, amassed $101,000 in his first full quarter of fundraising.

He also spent $53,000, leaving himself with $221,000 between his campaign account and PC, The People’s Voice, heading into 2024.

Close to 60 people and almost 50 businesses gave to Cid last quarter. None donated more than Las Vistas at Amelia, a Miami Lake-based apartment company that chipped in $10,000.

Cid also received $6,000 from South Florida-based supermarket chain Presidente Supermarket and $5,000 from Loyalty MGA, an independent Miami insurance agency.

Cid’s spending went mostly to consulting. He also paid $8,500 for advertising, $8,000 for printing, text messages and emails, and about $2,500 on accounting and compliance.

Coming in third in fundraising, Republican social media influencer and YouTuber Alex Otaola again tapped online donors to rake in $31,000 last quarter.

More than 930 people gave to Otaola’s campaign in Q4. Most donations were for less than $100.

Otaola spent about $16,500. Of that, $6,000 covered merchandise, $3,000 paid for treasurer and reporting services and about $2,200 went to advertising and marketing.

He also spent about $1,000 at Walmart for a toy drive and $500 on interpreter services. Otaola does not speak English fluently.

An electioneering communications organization (ECO) called Miami-Dade a Communist Free Zone that is backing Otaola’s candidacy reported no financial activity in Q4. The ECO previously made payments to the consulting firm of GOP operative Roger Stone, who supports Otaola’s campaign.

A fourth candidate, Democratic circus performer and teacher Miguel “el Skipper” Quintero, reported raising only $1,800 in Q4 and spending $200 more than that sum.

He received 33 personal checks, all but four of them for less than $100. Nearly all his spending was for a payment to circus performer Julian Caldiroli in exchange for “entertainment.”

Quintero also spent $8 on ads and $11 to maintain his campaign website.

The position of Miami-Dade Mayor is technically nonpartisan, as are its elections. Accordingly, all candidates are competing against one another in the Aug. 20, 2024, Primary Election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the two top vote-earners will compete in a runoff culminating in the Nov. 5, 2024, General Election.

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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