August was a busy month for Juan Carlos Porras, who trounced four opponents to clinch a win in a Republican Primary while also stacking $85,000 to further fund his campaign for House District 119.
That included a $49,000 check from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee on Aug. 26, three days after Porras captured 48% of the vote for HD 119, more than double the support his closest Primary competitor received.
Since he filed to run for state office in late March, the GOP staffer turned business owner and political candidate amassed nearly $180,000 through his campaign account and political committee, Conservatives for a Better Miami-Dade.
By late August, he had about $60,000 remaining thanks to active spending, including $56,000 he paid out last month. Most of that went to Coral Gables-based Miranda Advocacy for consulting, mail and print services, voter outreach, promotional items and marketing.
Several political committees gave Porras $1,000 in August. Among them: A Stronger Florida, a committee run by lobbying firm Rubin Turnbull & Associates Director of Operations Celeste Camm; Floridians United, the PC of Porras’ former boss, Miami-Dade County state Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin; Floridians First, a PC run by former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas; and the political donations arm of the Florida Property & Casualty Association.
Porras, 25, enjoyed a boost from the health care sector. Several businesses tied to Roy Hinman II, the founder of St. Augustine-based Island Doctors, collectively donated $5,000. He also received $1,000 apiece from the Florida Medical Association and the East Coast division of for-profit hospital operator HCA Healthcare.
Other $1,000 donations came from the Dade County Fire Fighters Local 1403, JPMorgan Chase, AvMed, Publix Super Markets Inc. and the GEO Group, the second-largest private prison company in the country.
Six people donated to Porras campaign directly in August through checks of between $500 and $1,000.
His opponent, Democratic activist and former Miami-Dade Youth Commissioner Gabriel Gonzalez, again only collected personal checks last month in what has so far been a 100% grassroots campaign.
That amounted to just over $1,000 raised in August through 19 donations. He received two for $250, including one from Pinecrest Council member Anna Hochkammer.
Since he filed to run in late May, Gonzalez has raised about $7,000, including a $2,000 self-loan.
He held $950 by late August. That month, he spent $640 on print materials, a campaign tent, gas and “ice water for early voting.”
Gonzalez defeated lawyer James Cueva in the Democratic Primary. Were he to win the HD 119 seat Nov. 8, it would be his first job since the 22-year-old graduated from college earlier this year.
That isn’t to say he hasn’t kept busy. According to his campaign website, Gonzalez has logged more than 10,000 hours of community service.
In 2018, he won a Miami Herald Silver Knight Award for a nonprofit he founded that collects toys and books for children battling cancer. He is also a member of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party Executive Committee and interned for two years under former Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan Zapata and worked for four months as a legislative intern under U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.
Porras’ other past employers include U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and state Reps. Alex Rizo and Spencer Roach.
HD 119 covers a strip of unincorporated Miami-Dade encompassing parts of Country Walk, the Crossings and West Kendall.