David Custin is quick with a smile and a friendly word. But don’t let that suggest he is not also one of the top political thinkers in Florida — and a decisive one, at that. Custin’s friends span the partisan extremes, which is a testament both to his genuine warmth, but also to his unique political strategy.
It isn’t that common that a strategist works both sides of the aisle, either; but Custin does so and makes it look almost easy.
“Custin is smart, loyal and while he won’t necessarily seek out a fight — woe to the person who picks one with him,” says Democratic strategist Steve Vancore.
Former Florida GOP fundraiser Brecht Heuchan, founder of Contribution Link, calls Custin “a fighter, resilient and loyal to the core. “
“Have worked with him and against him,” Heuchan adds. “The only time on opposing teams, my guy lost. If in a street brawl, David is my first pick.”
A self-described “right of center moderate”, Custin’s clients have included Miami-Dade’s first Cuban-American Democrat to win a partisan election in the county (Annie Betancourt in the 116th State House District); the razor-thin win of Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, a Democrat, in 2013; Alex Villalobos; and future House Speaker Jose Oliva.
Custin’s lobbying roster also includes groups with wide cross-partisan agendas: the Florida Medical Association, AT&T, Florida Crystals Corporation, and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.