Jorge Fors campaign reports $368K raised toward Miami-Dade County Commission bid
Transit workers are all aboard with Jorge Fors.

Jorge L. Fors ART
‘My support base is very much made up of local leaders and hometown people.’

Coral Gables City Commissioner Jorge Fors says his campaign collected more than $234,000 last month toward his bid for the Miami-Dade County Commission seat representing District 6.

The May haul, combined with prior holdings in his campaign account and political committee, brings his war chest total to $368,000. Fors attributed his gains to an “outpouring of support” from his community.

“We’ve seen support not only financially, as our numbers suggest, but also through word-of-mouth, talking about our campaign and offering to get out to vote,” he said.

Fors entered the County Commission race May 5 with an endorsement from current District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who must leave office in November due to term limits.

Sosa was one of 17 current and former elected Miami-Dade officials to host a May 25 fundraiser benefiting Fors’ campaign at the Renaissance Ballroom in Miami.

Also hosting the event: Miami Springs Mayor Maria Puente Mitchell, Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes, Coral Gables Vice Mayor Mike Mena, Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rodriguez, Coral Gables City Commissioners Rhonda Anderson and Kirk Menendez, West Miami City Commissioners Luciano Suarez and Ivan Chavez Jr., Miami Lakes Councilman Josh Dieguez, Hialeah Councilman Jesus Tundidor, former Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former Coral Gables Mayors Jim Cason and Dorothy Thompson, and former Coral Gables Commissioners Bill Kerdyk, Frank Quesada and Chip Withers.

Fors expects that group will make up only a portion of notable figures and organizations to back his campaign this year. They are evidence, he said, of a local support base his opponents just can’t match.

So far, that assessment appears to be accurate. But while Fors’ closest fundraising opponent, government relations specialist Kevin Marino Cabrera, hasn’t yet attracted nods from municipal and county officials, his endorsers have arguably made up for that deficit in name value.

Cabrera, a once-elected Councilman to a Miami-Dade zoning board, has received six endorsements to date. They came from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, Florida Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Patronis, future Florida House Speaker Daniel Perez, Miami-Dade Rep. Anthony Rodriguez and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Florida East Coast Chapter.

Still, there’s no substitute for local support in a local race, Fors maintained.

“Apart from the experience in public service, my support base is very much made up of local leaders and hometown people, while his support largely comes from further up north in the state,” he said. “I also haven’t really defined myself or my career in the political sphere. I’m a working man, a family man, who happens to serve versus someone who’s made a career in politics and government relations.”

Fors said there was no inciting incident that inspired him to run for public office three years ago. He just realized he wanted his daughters to think of him as more than a good father, husband and lawyer.

“It was looking at my little girls and asking myself the question, ‘When they hear about me or think about me years from now, will they know me as somebody who just worried about making money to live and provide for his family, or do I want them to think of me as somebody who got off the sidelines and actually sacrificed time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to try to ensure a better future for our community?’” he said.

Competing with Fors and Cabrera are fellow Republicans Dariel Fernandez, an active an active and honored board member of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as the husband of Coral Gables Assistant Community Recreation Department Director Carolina Vester; and architect Orlando Lamas, who in March switched from campaigning for the Florida House to a county bid.

Democratic Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vázquez, a lifelong educator and Air Force veteran, is also running in the (technically) nonpartisan contest.

District 6 covers a central portion of Miami-Dade, including part or all of the cities of Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and West Miami; parts of Coral Gables, Hialeah and Miami; and some of the county’s unincorporated area. The district also contains Miami International Airport, one of the county’s top two economic engines, and a Miami golf course being redeveloped as a soccer stadium complex for the city’s Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami CF.

Candidates face a Friday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through May 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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