Wealthy candidate sends a staggering $ 2.3 million of her own money to a Florida special election


Fort Lauderdale, Florida — A never-elected candidate, Sheila Chelphils-McCormick puts more than $ 2.3 million in his money into the campaign because he’s terribly hoping for a seat in South Florida’s parliament. did.

Its appearance is amazing. This raised $ 1 million more for the other seven Democratic candidates combined. Also, in the first six months of 2021, every other parliamentary candidate in the country participated in its own campaign.

And Cherfilus-McCormick said in a telephone interview that he was ready to invest another $ 1 million if needed.

“I’m not trying to buy a seat,” said Cherfilus-McCormick. “I’ve never played a political game trying to buy people or anything. It’s always been a ground game, a people-centric campaign. But … other campaigns are money from various donors and lobbyists. I knew that I would take away. “

The source and extent of Cherfilus-McCormick’s wealth is unclear. Residents of Miramar are CEOs of Trinity Health Care Services, a home medical institution also based in Miramar. Cherfilus-McCormick has not submitted any legally required financial disclosure showing a candidate’s income, assets, and liabilities.

Trinity Health Care Services received $ 2.4 million from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to a public database, including a database maintained by investigative journalism ProPublica.

Cherfilus-McCormick said there was no connection between the money she donated to the campaign and the federal support of the company she leads. “There is nothing dishonest about me,” she said.

Cherfilus-McCormick operates to represent one of the country’s poorest parliamentary districts, the Broward-Palm Beach County 20th Congressional District, with median household income well below states and countries.

Vacancy was created by the death of longtime MP Alcee Hastings on April 6, but Cherfilus-McCormick previously challenged him twice in the Democratic primary and decided to run again before he died. Did.

Due to the overwhelming democracy of District 20, the party’s November 2 primary winners are almost guaranteed to win the January 11 special election.

“I don’t think money will win the campaign,” said Chelfils McCormick. But her own money stands out.

OpenSecrets, which tracks political funding, prefers 355 active House candidates who have raised more than $ 250,000 from all sources during the first six months of 2021.

In contrast, only 11 candidates in the country have invested more than $ 250,000 in their campaign from January 1st to June 30th. Cherfilus-McCormick’s $ 2.3 million makes her overwhelmingly self-funded. Republican Steve Fanelli is second and has invested a total of $ 645,000 in the Pennsylvania Parliamentary campaign.

OpenSecrets reported that seven candidates spent more than $ 2.3 million put into the race by Cherfilus-McCormick during the 2019-2020 election cycle of 435 US Congressmen.

Kevin Wagner, a political scientist at Florida Atlantic University, said: “If you are not familiar, personal wealth may be the most viable way to establish yourself in the race.”

Money does not guarantee success. Of the seven major self-financings in the 2020 house race, three won and four lost.

“This is an amazing amount,” said Jacob Rubashkin, an analyst at the nonpartisan Washington, DC-based newsletter Inside Elections.

Assuming she’s actually spending money (sometimes candidates don’t spend it to get attention), this year’s special elections will have a bigger impact than 2020, Rubashkin said. rice field. Attention from the presidential election and other elections.

It’s also worth noting that $ 2.3 million is far more than the campaign suggested a few weeks before she put in most of her cash. “We expect to spend more than $ 1 million in this highly competitive race,” according to a May 5 press release announcing the event at Sunrise’s campaign office.

Cherfilus-McCormick, who holds a law degree at the age of 42, said he had money to spend on the campaign. “I’m the CEO. I’ve been in this position for over 10 years, so that’s my personal funding,” she said.

She has not submitted the financial disclosure report required by the Ethics in Government Act after a federal candidate has raised or spent $ 5,000. The Federal Election Commission directs candidates to follow the rules published by the House Ethics Commission.

“We’re going to submit it,” she said. “We know we are preparing a document for that.”

Other than public attention, some people do not submit documents because of the downsides of submitting documents. The house clerk-run financial disclosure portal challenged Hastings in the 2018 and 2020 Democratic primaries, but failed. Cherfilus-McCormick did not submit disclosures for any of these campaigns. It shows that. 2018.

Among other candidates for the successful primaries of Hastings, Bobby Dubose, Elvin Dowling, Barbara Charlief, and Priscilla Taylor have submitted disclosure reports. Dale Hornes has applied for an extension. Records show that Oumari Hardy and Perry Thurston have not yet submitted.

Huge amounts of money let people in politics see her campaigns they haven’t seen before.

“That’s the only thing people can see in the campaign,” she said. “It’s the unfortunate nature of politics. We’re still the same people, and we’re still grassroots. But money automatically lets people see it.”

With this funding, Chelfils-McCormick was able to prepare a powerful campaign faster than any other candidate.

By the end of the reporting period, she had already spent more campaigns ($ 367,664) than other candidates had collected, staffing, text messaging services ($ 11,000 in June alone), digital advertising, and video. I did. Manufacture.

And she bought a TV ad.

Ad Impact, a company that tracks ad purchases, said Cherfilus-McCormick spent $ 27,417 on cable TV ads in Broward and Palm Beach counties in June. In July, as AdImpact figures show, she more than doubled her spending on cables and added broadcast television channels to the Miami-Fort Lauderdale television market. She booked a total of $ 75,355 in commercial time in July.

“If you’re an unfamiliar candidate in your district, early television helps because you want to shape your perception as a candidate and reach as many people as possible,” Wagner said. rice field. ..

Chelfils-McCormick lent a total of $ 2,310,007 to the campaign in the quarter ending June 30, according to a report submitted to the Federal Election Commission in July.

Candidates usually donate money as a loan instead of donating completely to the campaign. This may result in repayment. Sometimes it happens. In many cases this is not the case.

Financing from other sources resulted in a total of $ 99,401 in the three months to June 30. This will put her in the middle class of those who run for seats. Cherfilus-McCormick was a candidate for the entire quarter. Most of the other candidates raced in the middle of the quarter after Hastings died.

Seven other Democratic candidates who reported raising and spending in the second quarter raised a total of $ 916,000.

Cherfilus-McCormick is not the only self-funded candidate in the 20th arrondissement.

According to election funding filings, Broward County Commissioner and owner of South Florida Pediatric Home Care, Charlief, has invested $ 230,000 in the campaign until June 30. Senator Broward and lawyers have lent $ 100,500 to his campaign.

Charlief said he was not fooled by the economic advantage of Chelfils McCormick. “Money has never won a race,” she said. “You can put money in the race, but it’s about your message resonating.”

Hornes, now Broward County Commissioner, refused to discuss funding for Chelfils McCormick. “We’re okay. The campaign is going well. We’re going to work hard and outperform everyone else. Did you see?” He said.

In 2018, when Cherfilus-McCormick first challenged Hastings in the Democratic primary, she won 26% of the votes. In 2020, she received 31% of the votes for Hastings.

Cherfilus-McCormick said these campaigns were a serious effort to reach Congress, not an attempt to gain experience in the campaign and raise name awareness.

In the current race, there is a big block of the type that declares “$ 1,000 per month” on the website promoting “People’s Prosperity Plan” and the website of Cherfilus-McCormick.

The plan will cost $ 2.2 trillion, according to the candidate’s own estimates. This is equivalent to what the Congressional Budget Office estimates to add up all personal and corporate income taxes in the current fiscal year.

Cherfilus-McCormick says the program will impose a $ 400 billion “automation tax” on employers who lose employment due to the move to automation and a $ 200 billion “data tax” on the sale of personal information. He said he would start paying.

The bullet points on the website also suggest a $ 1 trillion VAT, which acts like a national excise tax. There is a $ 300 billion “wealth tax” and a $ 250 billion tax on carbon, whose emissions contribute to global climate change.

Kevin Wagner, a political scientist at Florida Atlantic University, said the proposal was very unlikely to be legislated, but could be supported by some voters.

Cherfilus-McCormick rejects the question as to whether it could become a reality. She pointed out a temporary monthly payment that was just beginning to go to a family with children.

“There are some other denialists, some other candidates who say I’m selling pipe dreams, but that’s why our district is in poverty. It just shows, “she said. “I’m the only one who has the courage to dream different and do different things. But that’s the way I’ve succeeded in my personal life, so don’t be afraid to come up with bold policies. . “