Alina García closes distance in SD 38 contest with $100K in February contributions

Alina Garcia
García’s gains last month came through a blend of corporate contributions and around 90 individual donations.

Republican candidate Alina García had another big fundraising month in February, when she added nearly $100,000 to her campaign coffers in her bid to secure a Senate seat in November.

Garcia, a veteran political operative, now has about $232,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Florida Always First. That puts her about $100,000 shy of matching the war chest of Democratic candidate Janelle Perez, a local business owner and active LGBTQ community member whom the Florida Division of Elections lists as García’s sole opponent for Senate District 38.

García’s gains last month came through a blend of corporate contributions and around 90 individual donations ranging from $50 to $1,000. Among her individual givers: Juan Kuryla, who in January left his role as the director of PortMiami for an executive position with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Most of García’s business donations were from real estate companies and, in keeping with her longtime profession, the government consulting and lobbying sector.

Coral Gables-based Century Homebuilders Group, which bills itself as “the largest Hispanic owned homebuilder in the nation,” donated $5,000. Jose M. Canero, vice president of The Canero Group, which aims to build a large multifamily complex in SD 38, gave $3,000.

Coral Gables-based developer Jose Boschetti, Hialeah-based Palmetto Place Associates, Miami-based Diaz Properties and Doral Office Holdings each gave $1,000.

Tallahassee-based Ramba Consulting Group and Ramba Law Group, which share a Tallahassee address, gave a combined $2,000.

García also received government relations and lobbying-related donations of $1,000 apiece from Coral Gables-based Groundswell Strategies, Becker & Polikoff of Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville-based Cruz & Co., Tallahassee-headquartered Ericks Consultants Inc., South Miami-based The Florida Group and Miami firms Rodriguez Piña & Associates, Ballard Partners, Green Point Group.

García took in a few donations from medical companies, including $2,000 from companies linked to vascular surgery center Vein Care Pavilion and $1,000 apiece from Prime Care Family Center in Doral and Hallandale Beach-based Medical Associates Network.

García also received donations from political committees, including $2,500 from Wren PC, $2,000 from New Dade and $1,000 apiece from Protecting Freedom of Speech and People’s Trust PAC.

Other large contributions included $3,500 from Miami-based HVAC contract company Tropical Mechanic, $3,500 from North Miami-based title company MAM Title Consultants and $1,000 from Gus Machado Enterprises, one of several eponymous businesses founded by the South Florida car dealership mogul.

García spent $2,700 last month. Most of it, $1,542, paid for “transaction fees” through donations platform Anedot. She repaid herself $824 for “office equipment” and spent another $170 on checks, printing and delivery fees.

Perez, meanwhile, raised a comparatively meager $14,000 last month. That brought her total holdings as of Feb. 28 between her campaign account and political committee, Democracy and Freedom, to about $338,000.

As she had in prior months, Perez tapped a blend of grassroots and political party donors to increase her holdings. She accepted more than 80 individual donations ranging from $5 to $1,000, including a maxed-out check from former U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala and $250 from 2021 Miami Beach Commission candidate Raquel Pacheco.

More than half her gains came through a donation of more than $7,000 from the Florida Democratic Party.

The Next 50 PAC, a progressive group that supports candidates under the age of 50 who are committed to “justice, equity and opportunity for all,” gave $5,000.

Rep. Nick Duran’s political committee, Leadership for Miami-Dade, chipped in $1,000.

Her spending just topped $1,500, almost all of which went to paying for voter access through Democratic database NGP Van.

SD 38 covers a coastal portion of Miami-Dade County that includes Cutler Bay, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and some unincorporated areas.

García — whose has worked for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo and former state Sen. Frank Artiles — initially filed to run in Senate District 40.

But a new map the Legislature approved to reflect the 2020 Census places her in SD 38, where she’ll face Perez, a resident of Pinecrest who in September dropped a planned congressional bid to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia.

Redistricting since has shifted Perez to SD 38, while Garcia has likely moved to Senate District 36, where she’ll square off against Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco, who in November announced plans to switch chambers.

Candidates faced a Feb. 10 deadline to report all financial activity.

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 Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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