Anthony Rodriguez flexes fundraising muscle, doubles cash for Miami-Dade Commission bid
Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony-Rodriguez (2)
Rodriguez's advantages are many in a predominantly Hispanic district that skews Republican.

Rep. Anthony Rodriguez flexed his fundraising muscle last month, collecting nearly a quarter-million dollars to double his campaign coffers for his bid next year for Miami-Dade Commission.

Rodriguez is one of two active candidates for the District 10 seat long held by Javier Souto, who must leave office due to term limits. He officially launched his candidacy June 1.

Rodriguez’s Libertarian opponent, cannabis advocate, hemp farmer and West Kendall Community Council Vice Chair Martha Bueno filed to run in February but has struggled since to secure significant funding. Her mostly self-funded campaign has about $13,500 on hand.

Rodriguez’s massive funding advantage, name recognition and broad support from fellow Republicans make him an easy favorite in the race.

More than half of his $239,491 June haul came from Florida GOP political committees, including $51,000 from Rep. Lawrence McClure’s Conservative Florida, $25,000 from Rep. Daniel Perez’s Conservatives for a Better Florida, $11,500 from Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin’s Ethics and Honesty in Government and $9,000 from Rep. Vance Aloupis’ The Right Future for Florida.

Only six of Rodriguez’s 110-plus donors last month gave less than $1,000. Most direct contributions came from the real estate, construction and agriculture sectors — all huge industries in Miami-Dade — with a smattering of labor unions also chipping in.

He has yet to spend much of the $477,000 he has in reserves, with general campaign costs — website hosting, postage fees and payments to campaign donation processing company Anedot — comprising his meager expenditures so far.

His political committee, A Bolder Florida, gave $1,000 apiece to the Republican Party of Miami-Dade and the campaign of Bryan Avila, who is running for another Miami-Dade Commission seat.

But that payment appears to have been symbolic as Avila gave Rodriguez’s campaign $1,000 in turn.

June marked the biggest fundraising month so far for Bueno, not counting $10,000 she loaned herself when launching her campaign in March. The former vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade raised a comparatively paltry $1,268 — $150 less than what she ended up spending.

Contributions came entirely from individual donors and came in as low as $5. Her largest contributor, a San Francisco accountant and one of nine non-Florida donors, gave $108.

Bueno’s donors overwhelmingly are affiliated with the Libertarian Party. They include 2020 presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen, who donated $50 last month; and Alexander Snitker, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 and listed his job on his donation form as “unattended baggage host.”

Bueno may be switching political committees. She transferred $6,000 from her current committee, Libertarios Hispanos, to a new one she created June 24 called Bueno for Miami-Dade.

District 10 covers parts of unincorporated West Miami-Dade and includes the neighborhoods of Kendall, Westchester and Fontainebleau. All areas lean conservative, bolstered by a large, predominantly Hispanic population.

Souto has represented the district for 28 uninterrupted years on the nonpartisan County Commission. In 2012, Miami-Dade voters approved a referendum limiting commissioners to two four-year terms, making 2018 the last time he could run to retain his seat on the nonpartisan board.

The popular Republican captured 62% of the vote that year. His closest competitor, Jose Garrido, pitched himself as a more progressive alternative to Souto on issues of gay and transgender rights. He earned less than 14% of the vote.

Repeat candidate Daniel Sotelo has filed to run for Rodriguez’s seat representing House District 118. He’s the only registered candidate for the seat so far.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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