The congressional race in Florida’s 22nd district is getting weird. Incumbent Ted Deutch, a West Boca resident, recently sent a misleading e-mail to his supporters referencing prospective challenger Javier Manjarres. Manjarres is a Republican living in Fort Lauderdale.
Disclosure: Ted Deutch is our neighbor. We may not agree on many political issues, but he is a good and pleasant neighbor.
Deutch’s e-mail contained the following:
Dear [Name Omitted],
That’s how much my NRA-aligned opponent has already raised by pathetically calling student leaders “extremists” and “shameful.”
Click here to give $18, $50, $100, or more to my campaign today.
My opponent has raised more than a quarter million dollars championing President Trump’s divisive and cruel agenda while calling my supporters “rodents.”
I am so proud to represent our community but now I need your support to return to Congress next year as your strong voice in a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
Click here to donate.
I never take any election for granted, and I will not let a mouthpiece for the gun lobby represent this amazing community in Congress.
Please stand with me in this campaign.
It wasn’t clear from the e-mail who this “NRA-aligned opponent” is. We did some research and thought it was about Manjarres. The start of Deutch’s deceit is that Manjarres has not reported raising any money at all for his campaign. It appears Deutch is referring to a “Super PAC”, America First Agenda, that has some association with Manjarres.
Deutch’s campaign responded to our inquiry with this explanation:
His PAC, supporting his race, has raised 316,000 last reporting period. The PAC raised another 323k this period according to FEC reports.
FEC records show the PAC has reported receiving a total of about $640,000, mostly in “unitemized individual contributions.” In other words, we don’t know where most of this money came from. It’s important to note that the committee reports having less than $70,000 in cash on hand, and most of the spending appears to have been on fundraising, with no spending so far appearing to support or attack any candidate. By contrast Deutch’s campaign has over $350,000 on hand.
Manjarres appears to be a sham candidate. He is connected with the unabashedly evil Roger Stone (*Disclosure – this author sued Roger Stone in the past*) and his campaign seems to consist of little more than occasional conversations with journalists. His Facebook page has only 600 Likes and he posts rarely on it. He has a small following on Twitter – @VoteJavi and most of his tweets seem unconnected to a congressional campaign. He has a bigger following on his The Shark Tank page but it also doesn’t talk much about his candidacy.
We can’t find any evidence that Manjarres played a significant role in raising money for the PAC, nor that he did so by attacking students and Deutch supporters, or by championing the Trump agenda (if he has an agenda).
It’s hard to take Manjarres seriously as a candidate. The district leans Democrat. He hasn’t raised any money for his own campaign yet and does not appear to be actively campaigning. The primary is only 4 months away.
What’s most curious is why a strong incumbent like Deutch would deceive his supporters to try to raise money he doesn’t need by exaggerating a loudmouth nobody like Manjarres. A serious run against Deutch would cost well over $1 million, and we don’t see any opponent close to that.
Deutch does have two other filed opponents.
Entrepreneur Nicolas Kimaz reports over $100,000 cash on hand, but most of that is loaned by the candidate which means he can ditch the campaign and pay himself back (and that can be a fake loan). Property records indicate Kimaz does not own the home where he lives (Colonnade in West Boca off Jog south of Yamato). Kimaz could be serious but we doubt it.
We’ve see Paul Spain before but his committee reports less than $2000 cash on hand and over $100,000 in campaign debts.
We communicated with both Deutch and Manjarres in researching this story but did not find any of their answers helpful.