Juan Carlos Porras’ HD 119 campaign gets political committee lift in crowded field

Juan Carlos Porras
The open Miami-Dade HD 119 seat has drawn a field of five Republicans and one Democrat.

Among five Republicans and one Democrat vying to represent House District 119, Republican staffer turned business owner and politician Juan Carlos Porras raised the most in May, adding $13,300 to his campaign.

His campaign that started in April was the only one of the contenders to hit five figures.

The biggest lift for Porras’ campaign came from political committees, representing $7,000 in donations. Each one donated the maximum $1,000: Republican Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera’s committee, People Above Politics; outgoing Republican Rep. Vance Aloupis’ political committee, the Right Future for Florida; Protect Our Family Values, based in Tallahassee; International Longshoreman Association, based in Tallahassee; HCA North Florida Division Political Committee, based in Tallahassee; Associated Builders and Contractors, based in Coconut Creek, Floridians for Strong Leadership, based in Tampa.

Porras, who announced his candidacy on March 31, holds $37,511 after spending $6,203 in May.

Out of those expenses, Miranda Advocacy Group in Cutler Bay received the most; $4,700 went to data services and media expenses, his report shows.

Despite Porras’ strong May performance, he’s still in third in the overall money race, behind Republican hotelier Ricky Tsay and Republican lawyer Rob Gonzalez.

Tsay is also the biggest investor in his campaign and, in May, the biggest spender. He started his campaign in December with a $150,000 loan he gave his campaign. In May, Tsay raised $180 and spent the most he has during this election cycle: $34,841.

The biggest chunk of his May expenditures, $14,637, went to door hangers from Ven-Vamos Strategies in Miami. High Sail Strategies in Seekonk, Massachusetts provided him with $7,178 in direct mail and consulting. Tsay also spent $6,201 for direct mail services from Direct Mail Systems in St. Petersburg.

Between his personal campaign and his political committee, Friends of Ricky Tsay, those expenditures left him with $148,003 on hand.

Behind Tsay in overall money held, Gonzalez outraised Tsay last month, adding $2,820. He’s holding onto third place in the money race for HD 119, with $94,198 to spend.

Gonzalez turned on the spending in May, his biggest-spending month so far. Out of a total of $17,893 spent, Gonzalez sent $13,735 to DRC Consulting in Miami for website design, door hangers, email communications, campaign T-shirts, consulting and yard signs. He also spent $3,000 with Maverick Marketing in Miami for campaign management.

Among his contributors, a smattering of interests were represented. Gady Abramson, a Hollywood chiropractor, gave the maximum $1,000 donation. A Miami magician, Eduardo Fernandez gave $10. Gonzalez also got $1,000 from Felix Rivera, a Port St. Lucie contractor and $100 from another contractor, Santiago Alvarez in Miami. People working in sales, medical administration, medical consulting, real estate and process serving rounded out Gonzalez’s donor list

Republican Jose Soto, a teacher, raised $1,725 in May, spending $416. That left him with $3,723, including a $1,500 loan Soto made to his campaign in March.

Republican Ashley Alvarez, active with the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County and Vice Chair of Area 11 Community Council of Miami-Dade County, is a newcomer to the race. She filed May 3 and raised $3,400 in that time, with the largest donation, $1,000, coming from Jessica Fernandez, a Miami resident who works in government affairs. Twenty-two other donors run the gamut: retirees, a lawyer, a translator, police officer and a congressional aide, to name a few.

Alvarez’s spending was negligible in May, and she has a total of $3,277 to spend on her campaign.

Democrat Gabriel Gonzalez filed to run May 25 and the only financial activity he reports is a $2,000 loan to his campaign.

Redistricting configured HD 119 into a strip of unincorporated west Miami-Dade County encompassing West Kendall, Country Walk and The Crossings.

The campaigns were facing a deadline June 10 to report all financial activity through May 31.

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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