Republican Daniel Sotelo banked more than $34,000 in July toward his bid for the Florida House District 118 seat Republican Rep. Anthony Rodriguez plans to vacate for a Miami-Dade Commission seat next year.
Sotelo now holds more than $110,000 for a race in which he so far is unopposed.
Aside from $50,000 he gave to his own campaign in June, every contribution his campaign has received since its launch last month have been for $1,000 or less.
Five $1,000 contributions came from businesses Sotelo owns and that bear his name: Sotelo General Contractors Inc., Sotelo Investment Group LLC, Sotelo Accounting Corp., Sotelo Accounting Solutions and Sotelo Realty Corp.
Those and six other $1,000 donors, including Sotell Holdings USA Co. and Sotell Revocable Trust Holding, which Sotelo also owns, share the same address: 2760 Palm Ave., a two-story office building in Hialeah. The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser website lists Sotell Holdings as the building’s owner.
Many of Sotelo’s contributors are from the construction sector or related industries, including HVAC, electrical and landscaping businesses.
Sotelo is a serial entrepreneur and perennial political candidate since 2018. He has yet to win an election. He most recently ran for Miami-Dade Community Council in 2020 and lost with 28% of the vote.
Before going into business and entering politics, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force, according to his campaign website. Priorities listed on the site include promoting school choice, creating “a business-friendly environment that also helps create jobs,” supporting law enforcement, lowering taxes, housing affordability, improving traffic in West Kendall and upholding “values and freedoms.”
Despite lacking name recognition, Sotelo’s political affiliation will likely prove to be an asset if he makes it to the 2022 General Election. HD 118 leans Republican, and Democrats have only managed to hold the district for a single two-year term over the last decade.
Last year, Rodriguez defeated Democratic challenger Ricky Junquera, a first-time candidate who lost with less than 40% of the vote.
But despite only being in his second two-year term, Rodriguez has said that he will leave the Florida House to run for longtime Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto’s seat, who must leave office next year because of term limits.
“Local government is something that I’ve always had my eye on,” he told Florida Politics in June. “I think it’s where I’m better suited and where I could best shine and do the best for my constituency.”