Carlos Giménez adds $309K in Q3 to defend CD 26

Carlos Gimenez
Big bucks came from the real estate, development, construction and engineering sectors.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez’s reelection campaign for Florida’s 26th Congressional District added more than $309,000 last quarter, with donations from several major business sectors with big presences in South Florida.

Giménez’s financial reports show his campaign had nearly $847,000 on hand as of Sept. 30. The campaign spent about $76,617 between July 1 and Sept. 30 and owes Giménez $70,000, the latest report shows.

Two political newcomers have registered to run against him next year: Democrat Juan Paredes and fellow Republican Jeremiah Schaffer. The Federal Elections Commission has yet to post fundraising reports for Paredes. Schaffer has raised just over $12,000 so far, including a $10,500 self loan and $1,510 in individual contributions last quarter.

Giménez’s biggest gains came from a pair of joint fundraising committees he’s party to: Take Back the House 2022, which transferred more than $29,000 to his campaign last month and has given about $136,000 this cycle; and Gimenez Victory Committee, which transferred more than $15,000 last quarter and about $134,000 since November.

A political action committee associated with Giménez, Residents First PAC, gave $5,800.

The real estate, construction, development and engineering sector contributed significantly to Giménez. Billionaire developer Jorge Pérez, known as Miami’s “condo king,” gave $5,800 — the most individuals are allowed to contribute to a candidate per election cycle, representing $2,900 donations each for the Primary and General elections.

Blanca Barker, a self-employed accountant who shares the same address as Rex Barker, CFO of developer J. Milton & Associates, gave $2,600. Alexandra Milton, a retiree with an address associated with J. Milton & Associates, gave another $5,800.

Real estate consultant Luis Mata also gave $5,800, as did Dan Baker of Baker Construction, Jacquelyn Soffer, chair and CEO of Aventura mega-developer Turnberry, and her brother, Jeffrey Soffer, who runs Fontainebleau Development.

Robert Rowling, CEO of Dallas-based private holding company TRT Holdings, which owns the Omni Hotels chains, among other things, also chipped in $5,800.

Itzhak Ezratti, chair of Broward-based home builder GL Homes of Florida, gave $5,000. So did his son, Misha Izratti, the company president, Aventura-based therapist Maxie Ezratti and dating expert Maya Ezratti. All four list the same address on Giménez’s FEC filing.

Edward Easton, chair of Miami real estate firm The Easton Group, gave $2,000, bringing his total this cycle to $4,000.

Checks for $2,900 apiece came from Crescent Heights founder and CEO Russell Galbut and his wife, Ronalee Galbut. Century Homebuilder CEO Sergio Pino contributed $2,900; the National Multifamily Housing Council PAC kicked in $3,000; and $2,500 came in from Engineers Political Education Committee and the American Council of Engineering Companies, which has given Giménez $5,500 so far this cycle.

The National Electrical Contractors Association gave $2,500.

Former Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Cancio, the owner of Medley-based C&C Concrete Plumbing and father of Marili Cancio Johnson, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed to the state’s replacement of Miami-Dade tollway authority MDX, gave $530 to bring his total contributions this cycle to $1,530.

Alice Bravo, Florida District leader for engineering firm WSP USA, gave $250. She was director of the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works under Giménez, who appointed her to the role in July 2015. Bravo left the post for the private sector soon after Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was elected to succeed Giménez.

The banking and finance, telecom, gasoline and medical, pharmaceutical and health insurance sectors donated handsomely as well.

Patrick Ryan of Lakewood Ranch-based holding firm Ryan Holdings and John Childs, owner of Vero Beach private equity firm JW Childs Associates, each gave $5,800. So did Missouri index fund pioneer Rex Sinquefield. Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Chicago-based investment firm Citadel LLC, gave $3,000. The American Bankers Association donated $2,500.

Eduardo Costa, a portfolio manager for Coral Gables-headquartered tech, media and telecom investment firm Calixto Global Investors, contributed $2,500. So did retiree Maria Costa and Nicole Costa, also of Coral Gables, and Margarita Costa Suarez, who is listed on her donation entry as “retired” but is named a manager of several companies to which Eduardo Costa is tied.

Maximo Alvarez and Sandra Reus, respectively the president and director of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, gave $2,900 each in Q3, bringing their total donations this cycle to $5,800 apiece.

Talis Biomedical salesperson Elizabeth McCarthy gave $5,800. Clayton Varga, founder of Miami Beach-based Olios Health, gave half that amount, as did Carlos Migoya, the CEO of Miami-Dade’s public hospital system, Jackson Health.

Many law and lobbyist firms and individuals turned up, most notably Shutts & Bowen lawyer Harold Patricoff Jr., who gave a maxed-out donation of $5,800. A PAC created by global law firm Holland & Knight gave $2,000. Former Florida Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the brother of U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and a lawyer at Diaz-Balart PLLC, gave $1,000.

Giménez also received $2,900 donations from Luis Castro and Ivan Herrera, the COO and CEO of Coral Gables-based Univista Insurance, and a $1,500 check from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers political committee.

The Republican Jewish Coalition-PAC gave $917. So far, it’s donated more than $19,000 to Giménez’s campaign.

Other big PAC contributions included $6,000 from Making America Prosperous, $4,000 from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. PAC (which has given $7,500 total), $5,000 from The Eye of the Tiger PAC (which has given $10,000 so far) and $4,000 from Strengthen the American Republic.

Giménez’s biggest expenditures were for media and consulting, including a nearly $24,000 payment to Haymarket, Virginia-based political and business law firm Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak, and more than $26,000 to Alexandria, Virginia-based Converge Digital LLC.

He also spent $343 at a Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta, listing the entry in his filing as a meeting expense.

Giménez’s campaign gave a pair of refunds to earlier contributions, including a $1,000 repayment to Giffords PAC, a group named for former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords that supports gun control regulation.

Giménez, who served as Miami city manager from 2000 to 2003, defeated Democratic incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell last year to take CD 26, which covers all of Monroe County and southwest Miami-Dade.

The district has alternated blue and red since it was created in 2013 to reflect the 2010 Census. Democrat Joe Garcia held the seat until January 2015, when Republican Carlos Curbelo defeated him. Curbelo was then unseated in 2019 by Mucarsel-Powell, who lost to Giménez in November by 3.4 percentage points.

With the 2022 General Election just over a year away, no prominent Democrat has yet announced plans to run against Giménez. Mucarsel-Powell is rumored to be weighing a bid.

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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