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CD 27 scramble already draws $2 million in campaign donations

The mad scramble of candidates to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th Congressional District has heated up with big money: six candidates who’ve already raised more than $200,000 apiece and a total of more than $2 million going into a race without an incumbent.

Almost all of those sums were raised entirely in the third quarter of 2017, and many of the candidates raised the money even though they only entered the race in recent weeks, as Ros-Lehtinen was viewed as unbeatable until she announced at the end of April that she would not seek a 19th term.

Democratic candidates and contributors, in particular, are interested. Five Democrats already have raised more than $200,000, and two already are over $500,000. Each of those Democratic contenders also spent more than $40,000 during the quarter, starting up their campaigns heading toward the August 2018 primary election.

In actual dollars raised, Democratic state Rep. David Richardson of Miami Beach leads with $517,000 raised — all of it in the third quarter. He also spent $76,000 on his campaign, so he had $441,000 in the bank on Oct. 1. Yet Richardson’s money includes $253,000 he contributed to his own campaign.

Matt Haggman of Miami, a former program director for Miami’s Knight Foundation and a former investigative reporter at the Miami Herald, reported raising $512,000, all in the third quarter. Haggman spent $43,000 on his campaign during the quarter and finished with the most money in the bank, $469,000.

Retired Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge Mary Barzee Flores reported raising $304,000, and finished the quarter with $233,000 in the bank. State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez reported raising $282,000, and finished with $212,000 in the bank. Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez reported raising $236,000, and finishing with $196,000 in the bank.

Among Republicans, Miami-Dade County Commission Bruno Barreiro was the only candidate to pull in $200,000. He reported raising $218,000 and spending $31,000, leaving him with $187,000. Raquel Regalado reported raising $15,000, and had all of that left at the end of the reporting period. Doral Vice Mayor Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera reported raising just under $5,000, and had nearly all of that left on Oct. 1.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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