Mike Davey leads Dem Primary field, trails GOP incumbent in Q1 fundraising for CD 27

Mike Davey
His and Primary opponent Lucia Báez-Geller’s combined fundraising still fell short of what Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar collected last quarter.

In its first five weeks, Democratic Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey’s campaign for Florida’s 27th Congressional District raised more than double what his lone Primary opponent collected in three months.

Davey still placed second overall in first-quarter gains behind Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, whom he hopes to unseat this November.

Between Feb. 21, when he launched his CD 27 bid, and March 31, Davey amassed $314,000. That included a $100,000 self-loan and $13,200 he donated to his campaign.

Davey collected around 185 personal checks ranging from $10 to $3,300. The average amount was $1,157.

He took no corporate or political contributions.

He also spent about $26,000, leaving himself with $288,000 going into April. His spending covered travel, a P.O. Box, event venue and production costs, fundraising and credit card processing fees, and treasury, compliance, legal, digital, communication and database services.

Davey said in a statement that he is “incredibly proud” of the support he’s received in so short a time.

“Unlike María Elvira Salazar who sows chaos and dysfunction every chance she gets, I am running for Congress to actually put people first and solve problems, “he said. “Our growing base of support speaks to South Florida’s desire for new, results-oriented leadership ready to get to work and get things done.”

To face Salazar, Davey will have to get past Miami-Dade School Board member Lucia Báez-Geller in the Democratic Primary on Aug. 20.

Báez-Geller raised $139,000 in Q1 through more than 180 personal checks and around a handful of political donations. Several noteworthy South Floridians chipped in.

She received $4,300 from car dealership magnate George Williamson, $2,500 from former Pinecrest Mayor Evelyn Greer, $1,000 from former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and $750 from David Lawrence, a former publisher of the Miami Herald who serves as the founding Chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida.

She also got $500 each from North Miami Mayor Alix Desulme, Pinecrest Council member Marsha Matson, Books & Books owner Mitch Kaplan, former House District 120 candidate Dan Horton-Diaz and former Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, who is again running for the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Elect Democratic Women, a political action committee with a self-evident objective, gave $5,000. So did EMILY’s List, which describes itself as “the nation’s largest resources dedicated to electing Democratic pro-choice women to office.”

The political committee of former Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heman gave $500. The Lake County Democratic Executive Committee kicked in $100.

Báez-Geller spent $87,000 and had $138,000 left at the end of last quarter. Her spending covered credit card and bank fees, various consulting services, event supplies, voter lists, campaign staff payroll, payroll taxes, printing, software, travel, text messaging services, insurance compliance and a $3,650 transfer to the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida.

María Elvira Salazar continues to be a fundraising powerhouse. Image via Salazar for Congress website.

Báez-Geller and Davey’s combined fundraising still fell short of what Salazar hauled last quarter through hundreds of personal checks, numerous corporate contributions and an assortment of political donations.

She collected $574,500 in the first three months of 2024. A significant chunk of that — $295,500 — came through transfers from joint fundraising committees she’s associated with, including Salazar Victory Committee, Grow the Majority, Emmer Majority Builders and American Battleground Fund.

Her donors included pivotal figures in Miami industry and politics, including mega-developers Russell Galbut and Jorge Pérez, who each gave $6,600 — the maximum sum allowable under federal law, representing $3,300 apiece for the Primary and General elections.

Real estate developer Ross Perot Jr., the son of business magnate and presidential candidate Ross Perot, gave $6,200. Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart and Modesto Maidique, a former President of Florida International University and the namesake of its West Miami-Dade campus, each contributed $1,000.

Several politicians lent a financial hand as well. House Speaker Mike Johnson and U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean each gave $2,000 through their political committees. Johnson gave another $10,000 through an associated leadership PAC.

U.S. Rep. Nick Lalota and Dan Newhouse of New York and Washington, respectively, gave $6,600 through their leadership PACs, while U.S. Reps. Andy Bean of Kentucky, David Joyce of Ohio and Jen Kiggans of Virginia did similarly in $5,000 sums.

Salazar spent $150,000 and had $1.25 million by the end of Q1. She paid for various consulting services, travel, office supplies, lodging, internet and phone service, food, subscriptions, donor gifts, voter list rentals and donation-processing fees.

Two candidates — Royland Lara and Frank Polo — have filed to run against Salazar in the Republican Primary, but neither reported any campaign finance activity last quarter.

Polo’s campaign says it had less than $409 in the bank going into April.

CD 27 covers a large portion of Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, North Bay Village, South Miami, West Miami and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Coral Terrace, Fisher Island, Glenvar Heights, Kendall, Olympia Heights, Richmond Heights, Sunset, The Crossings, Three Lakes, Westchester and Westwood Lakes.

Analyses of CD 27, as redrawn by the DeSantis administration, show it is now safer than before for Republicans but still the most closely divided congressional district in Florida.

It’s also 74% Hispanic, the highest percentage for the voting age population anywhere in the state.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through March 31.

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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