Carlos Giménez reaps $436K in Q2 fundraising with gifts from big-name donors

Carlos Gimenez
Donors include Publix heirs, the cruise industry and Trump friends.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez raked in more than $436,000 last quarter, tripling his reserves ahead of a reelection bid for Florida’s 26th Congressional District in which no clear threat has yet emerged.

Nearly half came through carry-over funds from joint fundraising committees.

Of the remainder, much came from notable Miami-Dade County names, but big national players and established GOP benefactors also chipped in.

Local billionaire Stephen Ross, who owns the Miami Dolphins, gave the maximum $5,800. So did billionaire Miami tech entrepreneur Manny Medina, who added $3,000 to $2,800 he gave last quarter.

Maxed-out donations also came from billionaire Long Islander Andrew Sabin, the CEO of refinery corporation Sabin Metal, who was a major contributor to former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign; Trump business partner and New York City’s largest commercial landlord Steven Roth; and Charles Johnson, one of the Republican Party’s most prolific donors.

Las Vegas casino magnates Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta, who reportedly sold their shares of UFC for $4 billion in 2017, gave a combined $6,400. Their company, Station Casinos, donated more than $1 million to one of the joint fundraising committees to which Giménez was party.

CEOs from two of PortMiami’s beleaguered cruise partners also chipped in. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Frank Del Rio and his wife, Marcia Del Rio, donated a combined $5,800. Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean Cruises donated $1,000.

Several past colleagues and allies similarly showed up. Joe Arriola, who succeeded Giménez as Miami city manager, gave a maxed-out donation. Ralph Garcia-Toledo of G-T Construction Group, who chaired Giménez’s two reelection campaigns for Miami-Dade Mayor and (sometimes successfully) sought big-ticket county contracts on Giménez’s watch, gave $5,800.

Another former Miami Commissioner, Johnny Winton, gave $3,500. Rodney Barreto, who served as a Miami police officer under Giménez and now runs a public affairs, real estate and health care data firm, gave another $2,000.

Lobbyists are Miami-Dade County Hall mainstays, and some firms gave generously, from “boutique” operation Llorente & Heckler to international giant Greenberg Traurig, from several lawyers donated a combined $9,000.

Other noted donors include Carol Barnett of the Publix-owning Jenkins family, big donors to Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; and New York banker Robert Foresman, who was named in Robert Mueller’s report for alleged bid-rigging in Russia but was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Of some 240 total donations between April 1 and June 30, about 50 came from political committees. But only two gave more than what individual donors were limited to: the Republican Jewish Coalition, which gave $16,000; and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Majority Committee, which gave $10,000.

Born in Cuba, Giménez got into politics immediately after retiring as Miami Fire Chief in 2000, when then-Mayor Joe Carollo appointed him to the role. Four years later, he won a seat on the Miami-Dade Commission. He was elected county Mayor in 2011.

Last year, he defeated Democratic incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell with nearly 52% of the vote to flip the U.S. House seat representing all of Monroe County and part of southwest Miami-Dade.

Two men, both political newcomers, have registered to run against him next year: Democrat Juan Paredes and Republican Jeremiah Schafer.

The Federal Election Commission has yet to post fundraising reports for either opposing candidate.

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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