Four candidates in Miami-Dade Commission race collectively raise nearly $500K in one month

Jorge Fors and Kevin Marino Cabrera
Kevin Marino Cabrera and Jorge Fors raised the bulk of it for the race to represent District 6 race.

 The four-way race for Miami-Dade County Commission’s open seat representing District 6 heated up last month with two rivals raising six figures — and in a virtual dead heat for fundraising.

Coral Gables Commissioner Jorge Fors, a lawyer, raised more than $231,000 in May for his race to represent District 6 on the Commission. He spent more than $40,000 as well.

Between his personal account and his political committee, NextGen Florida Leadership, Fors holds a total of $369,025.

Meanwhile, his chief rival, Kevin Marino Cabrera, a government relations consultant, outpaced him in May donations, adding nearly $299,000 in May. But after spending more than $52,000, Cabrera has slightly less overall: $361,579 between his personal account and his political committee, Dade First.

They are up against business owner Dariel Fernandez and Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vazquez, who also filed for the seat in May.

Cabrera Thursday received the endorsement of Hialeah Mayor Steve Bovo and four members of Hialeah’s City Council. Bovo called Cabrera, “the right leader at the right time.”

“Hialeah needs courageous leadership on the County Commission to address issues like traffic, our quality of life and the affordability crisis,” Bovo said.

Bovo was joined by Council President Carl Zogby, and Council members Vivian Casals Muñoz, Bryan Calvo and Luis Rodriguez.

“He has my full backing and endorsement,” Bovo said.

Fors, however, started the race with the endorsement of Rebeca Sosa, the outgoing, term-limited Commissioner for District 6. 

The district covers Miami Springs, West Miami and Virginia Gardens; parts of Coral Gables, Hialeah and Miami; and several neighborhoods in Miami-Dade’s unincorporated area, including Schenley Park and Coral Villas, Red Bird, Coral Terrace, the Waterways, Glenvar Heights, Little Gables and Fontainebleau.

Fors received his single biggest May donation — $10,000 — from Ortus Engineering in Miami.

The real estate sector accounted for the largest sector of Fors’ support, as shown on his donor list. Collectively, he received $73,070 from real estate interests, which include contractors, property managers, architects and real estate agencies. Lawyers and law firms accounted for the second-largest category of donations, with $38,724 coming from them.

Four political committees also donated $1,000 each: New Leadership Network, based in Coconut Grove, Hialeah Fire PAC; Basic Principles in Miami; and Reform Government in Tampa. Conservative Choice political committee in Tallahassee sent $5,000.

Fors sent most of the money out of his $43,339 in May expenses to Marin & Sons, a Miami company. He paid them $48,475 for a variety of items, with the largest being $20,950 for mailers.

Fors’ donor list also shows $1,000 refunds given to his now-rival for the seat, Cabrera, and to the political committee of Cabrera’s wife, Republican Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera.

Commission candidate Cabrera received his biggest, single donation of the month from a Coral Gables political committee. Conservatives for a Better Florida sent him $60,000, which is future House Speaker Daniel Perez’s political committee. Republican Rep. Anthony Rodriguez’s committee, A Bolder Florida, also based in Coral Gables, sent him $26,000. Overall, political committees sent him a total of $139,000.

The candidate spent $52,186 in May. The biggest checks went to Miranda Advocacy in Cutler Bay, which was paid $16,881 for direct mail. The Berthier Group in Coral Gables was paid $10,000 for political, communications and social media consulting.

Fernandez, a business owner, meanwhile, netted a total of $15,136 in May for his campaign and has $26,488 to spend between his personal account and his political committee, Integrity in Government.

And Vazquez, a Miami Dade College professor, holds a total of $20,597 in his campaign account. He raised $21,356 in May and spent $759.

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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