Fundraising for Republican rivals dips as Carlos Giménez begins CD 26 campaign
Carlos Gimenez announces a new deal with FPL for wastewater treatment.

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Republicans are trying to wrest the seat from Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez is the newest Republican candidate in the race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. And according to the latest fundraising reports, he’s got a chance to take control of the “favorite” status in the GOP contest.

That’s because fundraising numbers for the contest’s two other Republican candidates — Irina Vilariño and Omar Blanco — dropped in the final quarter of 2019.

Vilariño brought in just over $100,000 during the third quarter of 2019. In the fourth quarter, that number fell to just over $62,000.

The dip was worse for Blanco. He added more than $102,000 in the third quarter of last year. But in 2019’s final quarter, he managed to pull in just over $16,000.

It’s tough to directly attribute those drops to the Giménez candidacy, as he didn’t enter the contest until more than three weeks after that reporting period closed on Dec. 31. But it seems sure the Giménez team will use those numbers when approaching donors this quarter.

That’s especially true when compared to incumbent Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell‘s fundraising prowess. Her campaign added more than $575,000 to close out 2019. The Mucarsel-Powell team says they have more than $1.6 million cash on hand to begin the year.

Vilariño, meanwhile, added more than $435,000 through the end of 2019 with more than $376,000 cash on hand. Blanco raised less than $120,000 and has around $74,000 remaining.

That makes the pitch easy for Giménez. He can argue his opponents can’t court enough money to beat Mucarsel-Powell, and instead position himself as the candidate to put the seat back into Republican hands in 2020.

Will that argument to donors stick? There’s reason to think so, especially since President Donald Trump has already endorsed Giménez in the race. That’s another signal to donors to divert their money to Giménez, and they will likely oblige.

Whether Giménez can catch up to Mucarsel-Powell is another question. The two next face an April 15th reporting deadline, which will show money raised in the first three months of 2020.

Federal candidates faced a Friday deadline to report all financial activity through the end of 2019.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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