Connect with us
Mike Fernandez is floating the constitutional amendment for an open-primary constitutional amendment.


Mike Fernandez antes up $2M+ for top-two open primaries

He pitched in $2.25 million last month.

The political committee behind a pair of constitutional amendments that would open up Florida primaries to all voters brought in $2.25 million in contributions last month.

All but $5,000 of All Voters Vote’s haul came from Miami health care magnate Mike Fernandez. Including his April contributions, he has pitched in $2.38 million of the $3.1 million the committee has raised.

All Voters Vote is aiming to get two initiatives on the 2020 ballot.

The first would allow all voters, regardless of political party, to vote in primary elections for the Legislature, Governor and Cabinet. The second would do the same, but for congressional elections.

Both proposed amendments would have all candidates appear on the same ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to a general election.

If there are only two candidates in a race, the primary gets skipped and the winner is determined in the general election.

The system, known as a “jungle primary” or a “top 2 primary,” is already in place in California, Louisiana and Washington state.

When the campaign was announced in early March, Fernandez was listed as one of several people spearheading the effort. Others include Eugene Stearns of Stearns Weaver Miller and Miami businessman Carlos M. de la Cruz Sr.

It takes 766,200 valid petition signatures for proposed constitutional amendments to make the ballot. Amendments must earn 60 percent of the vote to pass.

As of Tuesday night, neither proposal had any valid signatures according to the Florida Division of Elections.

That could change soon, however, as All Voters Vote’s expense report for April shows it paid more than $1.3 million for petition gathering services and has paid fees to several county supervisors of elections offices, presumably for petition signature verifications.

The committee finished April with $1.34 million on hand.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.