Kevin Marino Cabrera, Jorge Fors Jr. in dead heat on fundraising and spending for Miami-Dade Commission
Kevin Marino Cabrera and Jorge Fors Jr. face off in a pricy County Commission race.

Cabrera Fors
Both of their campaigns appear to be in full swing, with most of their expenditures going to voter outreach.

Republicans Kevin Marino Cabrera and Jorge Fors Jr. are neck and neck financially in the race for the District 6 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, with both candidates again raising and spending six figure sums in June.

Cabera, a lobbyist and campaign consultant, outpaced Fors in fundraising last month. But Fors, who is cutting his term on the Coral Gables City Commission short for a shot at serving in County Hall, dug more deeply into his sizable war chest.

Both candidates’ campaigns appear to be in full swing, with most of their expenditures going to voter outreach.

Cabrera collected $150,000. His largest gain, $20,000, came through four companies tied to David Medina, managing member of Doral-based First Class Movers.

He received more than 40 personal checks of between $500 and $5,000. That included a $1,000 donation from Cecilia Curbelo, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, one of Cabrera’s former employers.

State Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, who is running for another seat on the County Commission, gave $5,000 through his political committee. Rodriguez has given Cabrera’s campaign $55,000 so far.

As was the case with his and Fors’ campaigns last month and in months prior, the preponderance of corporate donations Cabrera accepted in June came from the real estate sector.

Miami-based CREI Holdings, Edgewater Management Services and the construction arm of Pembroke Pines-based CES Consultants each gave $5,000, as did a limited liability company tied to South Florida development firm N.R. Investments and Ernie Cambo, the real estate investor behind much of the development around an aviation and commercial center at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport.

The Coconut Groves-based Housing Trust Group gave $4,000. A subsidiary of the Vestcor Companies in Jacksonville chipped in $2,500, as did Doral-based Proser LLC.

Cabrera also received $2,000 apiece from Coral Gables-headquartered Bringtown Corp., Location Capital and 300 Engineering Group.

Zimmerman Auto Brokers gave $5,000. So did CDR Maguire, a multifaceted Miami-based company that received hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of state contracts for COVID-19 testing.

Cabrera spent $209,000 in June. Fifty-seven percent of that, about $121,000, went to Miami Beach-based firm Miranda Advocacy to pay for direct mail, flyers, canvassing, campaign apparel and website costs.

He paid more than $21,000 to Dark Horse Strategies in Miami for canvassing and consulting, $16,000 to New Jersey-based JHSM Holdings for campaign text messages, $16,000 to the Berthier Group in Coral Gables for video production and $12,000 to New York public opinion firm McLaughlin & Associates for surveys.

Cabrera also shipped $11,000 to Miami public relations firm Groundswell Strategies for campaign outreach and $10,000 to Coral Gables firm Tridente Strategies for media services.

Miami-based firms Red Road Consulting and BYG Strategies received $7,000 and $6,000, respectively, for consulting services.

By the end of the month, Cabrera had $243,000 remaining between his campaign account and political committee, Dade First PC.

Fors had about $5,000 more than that in his campaign account and political committee, NextGen Florida Leadership, by July 1 after raising $143,000 and spending $219,000.

More than 50 people donated to his campaign last month. That included a $100 check from outgoing District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who endorsed Fors as her preferred successor, and $5,000 from Jonathan Leyva, an executive of local appliance maker CE North America who last year bought a $10.6 million mansion in Coral Gables.

A lawyer in private life, Fors enjoyed healthy support from the profession, including $15,000 lawyer Fernando Pomares gave directly and through two associated companies, $6,000 from Miami firm Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes — partner Jeffrey Bercow gave $500 separately — and $5,000 from land use and government relations lawyer Felix Lasarte.

Several real estate businesses also turned out. Miami-based Ortus Engineering topped the list with an $11,000 check. Three companies tied to Cervera Real Estate Ventures founder and CEO Javier Cervera gave $10,500 combined.

A few companies linked to billionaire condo developer Jorge Pérez donated $5,000, as did Constellation Real Estate Group and subsidiaries of Prestige Florida Fund Partners and CC Residential.

Conservative Choice, a political committee that derived most of its funding this year from a group tied to state Sen. Travis Hutson, gave another $5,000. So did South Florida company A+ Mini Storage.

Unlike Cabrera, who strewed his campaign spending across many companies, Fors largely limited his spending to one. He paid Miami-based public strategy firm Marin and Sons more than $176,000 for polling, advertising, social media, campaign mail, yard signs, digital ads, phone banking, video production, communications and consulting services, and TV ad buys across several providers.

The remainder of Fors spending covered transaction fees, staff compensation and various fundraising, banking, accounting and legal fees.

Next month, voters will choose between Fors, Cabrera, entrepreneur Dariel Fernandez and Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vazquez, the lone Democrat in the (technically) nonpartisan contest.

Fernandez, who also hosts a radio show and holds an elected seat on Miami-Dade’s Republican Central Committee, raised a comparatively paltry $6,000 in June.

As of July 1, he held $60,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Integrity in Government ECO.

Nine people donated to Fernandez last month, with personal checks ranging from $15 to $500 from restaurateur Juan Alvarado, who gave an extra $1,000 through his business, Caribe Restaurant.

Fernandez also took $2,000 from UniVida Medical Center, which operates 13 health care locations across South Florida.

He spent nearly $13,000 on election data consulting, campaign management fees, signs and advertising.

Vazquez, an Air Force veteran and retired Miami Dade College History professor, took in about $5,000 last month. After less than $2,000 in spending, his campaign had $24,000 left at the end of the month.

June marked the first month in which Vazquez accepted an organizational donation. Since filing for the race in May, his gains have been exclusively grassroots.

More than 30 people donated between $5 and $1,000 to Vazquez last month. Most checks were for $100 or less.

He also took a $1,000 contribution from the lobbying arm of the International Association of Ironworkers.

Vazquez’s spending covered a qualifying fee with the Miami-Dade Elections Department, voter data access through the Florida Democratic Party, supplies, merchant fees and office space rent.

District 6 covers a central portion of Miami-Dade, including part or all of the cities of Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens, West Miami, parts of Coral Gables, Hialeah, 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.

If no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote in the Aug. 23 Primary Election, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a runoff Nov. 8.

Candidates faced a July 8 deadline to report all campaign finance activity through July 1.

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.


One comment

  • Joe Corsin

    July 15, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Vote RED for fusion of Jesus culture with neo naziism

    Vote RED for conservatism for the masses but lavish spending for the rich.

    Vote RED for levels of wealth and income inequality the likes of which the world has never seen

    Vote RED for domestic terrorism to eliminate government so that the GOP grifters can institute low wage slavery forever

    Vote RED for evil plutocracy in the name of God.

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