Merick Lewin, State House Candidate With Ties to 411-PAIN, Withdraws From Race

The Davie Republican with ties to the 1-800-411-PAIN Referral Service is no longer vying to represent western Broward in the state House.

Merick Lewin submitted paperwork to withdraw from the District 97 race on March 28, less than three weeks after the state Legislature passed a bill that could threaten profits for car accident clinics such as the 411-PAIN chain co-owned by Lewin's uncle, Harley Lewin.

Reached by phone yesterday, Lewin declined to explain why he ended his campaign, saying he would soon be releasing a public statement on his Facebook page. Asked whether his decision had anything to do with the March passage of the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance bill, he said, "No, it does not."

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By the end of last year, Lewin had raised $96,000 for his campaign, far more than any other candidate in the race at the time. The Florida Division of Election's online list of candidate contributions doesn't show any record of Lewin collecting donations in 2012.

Roughly a third of Lewin's campaign donations came from health-care professionals and attorneys. Many of the donors were involved with 411-PAIN, a Broward-based company that refers car accident victims to chiropractors and lawyers. Lewin was also a registered lobbyist for one 411-PAIN clinic, the Broward Rehab Center, in 2010. Yet Lewin maintained he did not want to be judged by his "familial relationships."

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