Newly contested for re-election, Lauren Book posts biggest fundraising month of her career

Facing his first primary challenger on a ballot, Senate Democratic leader Laurent Book had the best fundraising performance of his career in April, raising nearly half a million dollars and spending even more.

Meanwhile, his Democratic contender looks set to self-fund his campaign to a similar level, but Book’s $2.8 million in cash is a dreadnought next to his main contender’s canoe.

It promises to be one of the most watched senatorial primaries.

Between Book’s two political committees, Leadership for Florida and Broward Branch in addition to his personal account, Book raised a total of $476,740 in April.

Donations last month included $100,000 from the Miami Dolphins, the National Football League team and support from a retired National Basketball Association Alonzo Mourning and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Heni Koenigsbergwho both donated $1,000.

The book was a fundraising juggernaut for other Democrats, but never really needed cash before for his own political survival.

She was elected unopposed since first running in 2016 to represent Western Broward. The redistricting, however, put her in a new place, where she would have faced fellow incumbent Democrat Sen. Rosalind Osgood. Instead of that primary fight, she moved to District 35 and now faces a challenge from the former Broward County Commissioner. Barbara Sharif, which raised $8,385 from outside donors for its first campaign report.

Book’s other major donations were $25,000 from Southwest Florida Enterprises, a Miami pari-mutuel company; and American Promotional Events, a fireworks distributor in Florence, Alabama; $20,000 from Michael Wohl, a Coral Gables real estate developer; $15,000 from Vitas Healthcare, a palliative care company in Miramar.

Last month, the book posted the most she had ever spent, a total of $548,075. Book’s campaign sent $300,000 to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and transferred $100,000 to its new political committee, Leadership for Broward. It also paid MDW Communication of Plantation $52,325 for direct mail consulting and an additional $29,738 for media services. The campaign also spent $29,174 with Clearview Research in Tallahassee for the polls.

Sharief’s spending and donations came on a much smaller scale.

Donors giving the maximum $1,000 allowed to Sharief’s personal campaign account in April were Andy Felix de Tamarac, who works in advertising; Angelo Pitchera skincare doctor in Hollywood; and Bergeron Properties and Investment Corp. from Fort Lauderdale.

Records show Sharief spent $38,548 in April, with the largest share, $20,025, going to Fluid Communications in Dover, Delaware, for advertising. The campaign also spent $7,166 with Complete Digital, based in Washington, DC, for digital advertising and $1,848 with Accurate Business Systems in Miami Gardens for T-shirts.

After those expenses, Sharief’s personal account shows $469,837 on hand — including the $500,000 that Sharief, a healthcare executive, lent to his campaign.

On whether Sharief’s campaign has created a committee to accept larger donations, Florida Politics received a statement: “Dr. Sharief is ready to raise and spend whatever amount we will need to be successful in this race. Our campaign is not centered on a “who has the most money” contest with our opponent. We have chosen to focus on the issues affecting the residents of District 35. Our opponent has already made it clear during his time in Tallahassee that the vested interests of the big bucks come first. “

The newly mapped district that had no active holder until Book moved there covers part of unincorporated Broward County south of Interstate 595 and west of the Florida Turnpike. Pembroke Pines and Miramar make up most of it, but it also includes all or parts of Cooper City, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, and Weston.

The region leans heavily Democratic and is unlikely to have a general election.

Both campaigns faced a deadline Tuesday to report all financial activity through April 30.

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Angela C. Hale