Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s CD 25 rival ties her second-quarter draw

As South Florida’s longest-serving Democratic representative in Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a strong cash position to slide into a 10th term.

And that’s even though his main rival in the race for Florida’s 25th congressional district, the Republican Carla Spaldingraised about the same quarter of a million dollars as it did in the last quarter.

The $255,627 Wasserman Schultz added in the second quarter of 2022 was just $2,564 more than Spalding added to his campaign.

Wasserman Schultz’s holdings, however, are like a heavy lift for Spalding’s ultralight. She owns more than $1 million, compared to $107,000 for Spalding.

In 2020, Wasserman Schultz beat Spalding, a former U.S. Navy veteran and Veterans Administration medic, by 16 percentage points. Wasserman Schultz has obtained at least 56% of the vote in each of the last four cycles.

And even though the two almost equally split $500,000 in campaign contributions, the contrasts in their draw are stark.

Donations under $200 do not have to be itemized and 47% of Spalding’s donations fall into this category. Meanwhile, only 13% of Wasserman Schultzes are unlisted.

Of more than 1,000 donations to Spalding’s campaign, not a single one donated the maximum of $5,800.

Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, received $5,800 from Henry Laufer and Marsha Laufer, both retired from Lantana; and Brian Neff of Cambridge, Massachusetts and CEO of Sintavia, which is an air, space and marine vehicle parts manufacturer in Broward County.

Reaching the maximum donation level this quarter has been Cesar Alvarez of Miami, senior president of Greenberg Traurig; Rosalie Danburya pensioner from Venice; Clarence Otis a pensioner from Windermere; Craig Perry from Sunrise, a developer with Centerline; Philippe Pilevsky of Great Neck, New York, president of Philips International; Rene Pilevsky a retiree from Lawrence, New York; David Schwedel of Coral Gables, who works at Project Finance with Corallum; and Joel Tauber of Atlanta, Georgia, president of Tauber Enterprises.

Wasserman Schultz received 48 donations worth $96,000 from political action committees. They range from $500 from the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida in Belle Glade to $5,000 in donations from three different PACs – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Washington, the PAC from Mechanicsville-based Owens & Minor Inc. , Virginia, and the American College of Radiology Associates in Reston, Virginia.

The donation from the group of radiologists this quarter brought the total given to Wasserman Schultz this election cycle to $10,000.

As for expenses, Wasserman Schultz spent $203,856. Wasserman Schultz’s largest single campaign check — $50,000 — went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She spent nearly $30,000 on campaign management and fundraising consulting. The campaign spent $24,000 to get its message out in the mail, $20,000 of which went to RWT Production in Annandale, Virginia, for printing and postage. The campaign also paid $10,800 for digital media fees.

Travel and accommodation totaled $12,349, including a $1,328 stay at the Nobu Hotel Miami Beach, now booking online for $350 a night.

Wasserman Schultz paid ActBlue Technical Services $4,000 for service charges.

Spalding, however, paid much more for the Republican version of this fundraising platform, WinRed. This was the bulk of the $20,000 Spalding paid for “fundraising fees.” In the last quarter, WinRed charged its campaign 1,577 times, sometimes for transactions of 32 cents and one for $9,960.

Postage and printing, including $74,000, was the biggest expense of the $227,000 Spalding spent last quarter. His expense reports show $21,830 was paid for the consultation, with all but $1,405 going to Silver Star South Florida in Miami. “Administrative services” paid to a number of people cost the campaign $23,500 and “accounting services” cost $17,374 in the last quarter.

Donors to Spalding’s campaign come from across the country. The biggest contributor to his campaign, however, came from the Omega List company in McLean, Va., which donated $38,099 in “mailing list royalty.”

Other qualified candidates for the ballot are far behind in the race for money. Democrat Robert Millwee raised $18,907, including the $2,307 he gave to her campaign and the $14,000 he lent her. The $16,601 he spent during the quarter left him with $2,306.

Republican Rubin Young raised $246 in the last quarter and spent $278. These expenses left him with $24.19 on hand.

The district was renumbered this year redistricting effort and its boundaries shifted slightly south, with its northwest corner taking Weston and expanding to take Hallandale Beach to the southeast. But it remains a Democratic stronghold, with Joe Biden winner here by 20 points in 2020.


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Jack L. Goldstein