It’s common for incumbents to gain a fundraising edge against their challengers here in Florida. But that reality will be a new one for Democratic Rep. Cindy Polo, who overcame a huge money gap to win the House District 103 seat in 2018.
Republican Frank Mingo outraised Polo more than 4-to-1, $355,000 to $78,000, in 2018. Republicans also previously held the seat before Polo’s win. Still, she managed to win the seat fairly comfortably, notching a 6-point victory.
This time around, she has the money lead. Less cash has poured into the race overall, at least as of mid-October. Polo has raised close to $142,000 for her reelection bid. Her Republican challenger, Tom Fabricio, a lawyer, has collected nearly $124,000, plus another $10,000 in loans.
Fabricio was forced to spend much of that money during a primary to secure the Republican nomination. Polo ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Since the General Election season began in late August, Fabricio has spent only about $2,000 compared to $37,000 by Polo.
Money isn’t everything, but her success this cycle has removed a major barrier that Polo faced — and nevertheless overcame — back in 2018.
Still, she’ll need to defend her ideals, which have often put her at odds with the GOP-controlled Legislature. Polo is proudly progressive. Fabricio has sought to argue Polo’s philosophy puts her out of step with the community. That could be a hard sell given she already won the seat once.
Fabricio has focused on Polo’s left-leaning ideology as well as her lack of a major legislative achievement during her freshman term in the House. The only bill approved during her first two years where Polo served as the main sponsor was a ceremonial bill in 2019. That measure designated April 25 of that year as “Colombian-American Heritage Day.”
Polo has said she worked behind the scenes on other pieces of legislation that did pass, even if she wasn’t the primary sponsor. That’s not good enough, argued Fabricio.
“My opponent has chosen to put her personal politics first at the expense of our community,” Fabricio argued. “When elected, I will always make our grandparents, kids, teachers, and those who need us the most the top priority.”
Polo has countered critiques that her “personal politics” are too unorthodox by framing that as a strength. Instead, she argues, she’s willing to put the politics of the district above any party-line concerns. That’s not something she thinks Fabricio will be able to do should he take the seat for Republicans.
“I will always use my voice to speak up on behalf of my neighbors and to call out the lack of leadership in the Florida GOP,” Polo argued.
“I am not beholden to their tired playbook, special interests nor to a recycled band of politicians.”
The district covers parts of Miami Lakes and Doral in Miami-Dade County and also extends into Miramar in Broward County. HD 93 is about 80% Hispanic. Cubans account for around 47% of the district’s population. That demographic tends to lean more Republican.
Democrats do have about a 1,400-person advantage in voter registration among the more than 104,000 voters registered in the district. Non-party affiliated voters top both parties, however, making up 34% of the electorate. Democrats make up 33% while Republican account for 32%.