Alina García surpasses $320,000 for HD 115 bid

Alina Garcia Twitter
Her sole opponent hasn’t reported any fundraising yet.

Republican candidate Alina García last month added more than $85,000 to her campaign to succeed House District 115 Rep. Vance Aloupis in November — a haul that put her total gains since January at more than $320,000.

How much of that she’ll need to spend to fend off fellow GOP opponent Alexis Calatayud remains to be seen. Calatayud, a former campaign manager and legislative aide to Aloupis, who has endorsed her to succeed him, filed to run April 1 and has not yet reported any financial activity.

Donations to Garcia’s campaign account and political committee, Florida Always First, were a mix of grassroots and corporate contributions.

Noteworthy individual donors included Liliam López, president of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, who is running to succeed term-limited Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz; and Anthony Barcera, the manager of marinas for the city of Miami.

Many of García’s donors were from the government affairs, health care and real estate sectors, including real estate development giant Florida East Coast Industries, the owner of Brightline, which gave her $4,000 through four subsidiaries.

Her largest single donation, a $5,000 check, came from Founding Principles, a Republican-backing political committee Jupiter-based consultant Richard Johnston opened in January. Johnston runs one other political committee, First Amendment Fund, which has distributed more than $1.4 million since its September 2016 creation.

To date, the donation to Garcia’s political committee is one of two expenses listed on Founding Principles’ expenditure sheet. The other is a $30 Bank of America fee.

“I am thrilled by the outpouring of support from so many people throughout our community,” García said in a statement. “It’s a true testament to their faith in my ability to forge a brighter future for all Florida families.”

An anti-abortion, anti-communism candidate, García has worked for several prominent Republican politicians in Congress, the Florida Cabinet, Florida Legislature and Miami-Dade County.

She served as the first legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio when he was elected to the Florida House in 1999. In a Jan. 24 endorsement, Rubio described her as a “consensus-builder and commonsense leader who will never stop fighting for our community.”

Her work history also includes stints in the offices of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo (when he was a Miami-Dade Commissioner), Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, former U.S. Rep. David Rivera and former state Sen. Frank Artiles.

García in January filed to run for the state Senate but switched races in early April to focus on HD 115.

Aloupis, who now represents the district, announced March 30 that he would not seek a third House term so he could spend more time with his family.

Within hours, Calatayud launched her bid to take HD 115. García announced she’d refiled to run there six days later.

HD 115 covers a section of Miami-Dade including Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Kendall, Sunset and Westchester.

Prior to its expansion by the Legislature during redistricting, the district leaned Republican. It has remained in GOP hands for close to two decades.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all financial activity through March 31.

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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