Republican donations propel Juan Fernandez-Barquin well ahead of his three challengers

Juan Fernandez-Barquin
Two Republicans and one Democrat are vying to unseat the two-term Representative in the inland district.

With nearly $30,000 in donations from local and state Republicans, Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin’s May fundraising left the three other pols challenging his re-election in the dust.

The two-term Republican looking to be re-elected to his seat representing the renumbered House District 118 raised $66,509 in May and spent $41,224/ The incumbent is looking to fend off two Primary challengers for the right to face the Democrat in the race.

Fernandez-Barquin raised $54,009 for his personal account and brought in another $12,500 through his political committee, Floridians United. That haul is his second-biggest this election cycle, second to March 2021 when he raised $740 more.

Republican political organizations accounted for nearly half of Fernandez-Barquin’s haul last month, with the Miami-Dade Republican Party giving him $25,000. That was his biggest check collected during May.

The Republican Party of Florida checked in with $4,500. That was a bit less than the $5,000 donations the campaign received from both the Tallahassee-based Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC and Ethics and Honesty in Government, a Coral Gables political committee that Jose Riesco, an accountant, chairs.

Fernandez-Barquin also received support from his fellow Republican lawmakers. Rep. Spencer Roach’s committee sent him $500 and Rep. Toby Overdorf’s committee, Heavens to Oceans, sent him $1,000. Rep. Michael Grant sent him another $1,000. And Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez’s political committee, Ethics and Honesty in Government, sent him $1,000.

The biggest payments in May went to Marin & Sons in Miami, which accounted for almost half of Fernandez-Barquin’s monthly spending. He paid the Miami public affairs and political communications firm $23,410 for direct mail, political consulting and printing. Fernandez-Barquin also sent $1,000 to Monica Colucci’s campaign for Miami-Dade School Board,

After those expenses, Fernandez-Barquin was left with $318,000 to spend to defend his seat.

He’ll be facing Republican Daniel Sotelo, who raised $25,740 through his personal account and political committee, Floridians for a Brighter Future in May.

Sotelo’s biggest check, $7,500 came from Z & O Rehabilitation, a Miami, a physical therapy provider. Soleto also received a $7,250 donation from Cooling South Florida Group, an air conditioning contractor in Miami. He also received $6,000 from construction interests that included $5,000 from Sun Eagle General Construction in Hialeah.  

Sotelo collected $1,000 donations from a Hialeah nail salon, Art Nails; two self-employed people Leidys Suarez of Hialeah and Maria Gil of Miami; and AAB Fire and Electrical Corp, a construction company in Hialeah.

Sotelo spent more in May than any other month this election cycle: $15,400. The biggest checks went to advertising and consulting. He paid Darkhorse Strategies in Miami $7,990 for consulting, flyers and mailers. VAP of Miami received $3,500 from the campaign for advertising and La Poderosa in Miami was paid $2,400 for advertising.

Those expenses left Sotelo with $163,404 to take on the incumbent, including a $50,000 loan that he gave his campaign

A third Republican, Francisco Rodriguez, has qualified after his June 2 filing for the race. No financial report has been filed, however.

The Democrat in the race, Johnny Farias, raised $175 in May and spent $3,419. That left him with about $62,000 on hand between his personal account and his political committee, including a $50,000 loan he gave his campaign. His political committee, Friends of Farias, did not raise or spend any money in May.

HD 118 covers a narrow strip of Miami-Dade west of the Florida Turnpike that includes portions of the unincorporated Kendall, Perrine, Sunset and Westchester neighborhoods.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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