Carlos Giménez outraises Democratic challenger for CD 28 by threefold
Carlos Giménez can sympathize with first responders. Image via NY Post.

Fellow GOP pols turned out in droves to support the incumbent.

Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez raised close to $219,000 in the 57 days leading up to Oct. 1, a haul three times the sum his Democratic challenger, Robert Asencio, amassed over the same time span.

He also spent $145,000, with large portions of it going to a blend of digital and physical campaign ads.

That left him with $1.35 million left to spend before Election Day.

Support from the party

Scores of individuals wrote personal checks to Giménez’s campaign between Aug. 4 and Sept. 30. That included a $1,000 check from Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who served South Florida in Congress for nearly 30 years.

Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, now works as a senior adviser to law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which gave Giménez another $1,500.

Other fellow GOP politicians turned out for Giménez in droves to give through their respective political committees.

Washington U.S. Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who in August lost a Primary race for her seat, gave $5,800.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave each handed over $5,000 checks.

California U.S. Rep. Young Kim contributed $3,500. Mike Johnson, a Congressman from Louisiana, chipped in $3,000.

Giménez also received $2,000 from U.S. Reps. Byron Donalds and Neal Dunn of Florida, and Darin LaHood of Illinois, as well as $1,000 from Kevin Calvert of California, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Debbie Lesko of Arizona, and Ronny Jackson and August Pfluger, both of Texas.

Congressional hopefuls Harriet Hageman of Wyoming and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania also gave $1,000.

Several political committees not tied to specific candidates gave too. The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group focused on fostering pro-Israel policies in the United States government, donated $7,100.

The Hispanic Leadership Trust gave $5,000, while the Republican Main Street Partnership kicked in $1,000.

Planes, trains, automobiles, telecoms and unions

Giménez, a former Mayor of Miami-Dade County and City Manager of Miami, also enjoyed broad support from unions, trade groups and the transportation, freight and telecommunications industries.

The International Association of Firefighters gave Giménez, a former Miami city fire chief, $5,000. So did the National Association of Realtors.

The American Bankers Association gave him $4,000, while the American Car Rental Association, American Chemistry Council, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Automobile Dealers Association and National Beer Wholesalers Association donated $2,500.

He also received $2,000 from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and a financial security professionals advocacy organization called Finseca; plus $1,000 from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Associated General Contractors of America and the United States Chamber of Commerce, America’s largest lobbying group.

From the transportation sector, he received $5,000 from Delta Air Lines, $3,000 from JM Family Enterprises, an auto sales giant headquartered in Deerfield Beach, $2,500 from car rental company Enterprise, $2,500 from FedEx Corp., $2,000 from railway operator CSX and $1,000 apiece from Southwest Airlines and Raytheon Technologies, an aerospace and defense conglomerate based in Virginia.

Comcast Corp., America’s largest multinational telecom conglomerate, gave Giménez $8,000. Its biggest competitor, AT&T, donated half that. Charter Communications, known broadly as Spectrum, gave $1,500.

Giménez also welcomed donations of $5,000 from New York Life Insurance Co. and PricewaterhouseCoopers, $2,500 from The Williams Companies and National Rural Electric Cooperative and $1,000 from Chevron, Publix Super Markets, Walmart, Indianapolis-based Elevance Health and Altria Group, a tobacco mammoth formerly known as Philip Morris.

In the mailbox and onscreen

Large chunks of Giménez’s spending from Aug. 4 to Sept. 30 covered advertising and related consulting.

He focused most on mailers, paying Coral Gables-based Miranda Advocacy more than $20,000 and Tampa-based SimWins another $1,000 for direct mail services. Another $13,000 went to Miami-based Logistics Advisors for general advertising costs.

Giménez spent close to $12,000 on digital advertising, paying various sums to eight companies in Florida, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Texas and the Virgin Islands.

Boca Raton-based Your Sign Guy got nearly $9,000 for signage. The parent company of Keys Weekly received more than $1,000.

Consulting companies got paid as well. Giménez spent more than $58,000 on fundraising, communications, compliance, digital and strategic consulting. The biggest recipients were Virginia-based Convert Digital, which got more than $19,000; and A.M. Strategies in Tampa, which received $15,000.

Giménez also paid $25,000 to a Virginia-headquartered firm called The Tarrance Group and $5,000 to Washington-based Cygnal for polling.

The remainder of his spending covered general campaign costs and upkeep, including storage, office space, travel, lodging, meeting expenses, software subscriptions, supplies and donation processing fees.

The underdog

A former captain with the Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department and one-term state Representative, Asencio entered the CD 28 race late, filing to run in June just days before the qualifying deadline.

Since then, he’s collected about $83,500, 80% of which he raised between Aug. 4 and Sept. 30.

More than 40 people donated to Asencio’s campaign in the 57 days preceding Oct. 1 through personal checks of between $100 and $2,900. Among them: Javier Fernandez, a former state Representative now running for South Miami Mayor, and outspoken Miami attorney David Winker.

His largest gain, a $10,000 infusion, came from the pollical committee of Arizona U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Other noteworthy contributions included $5,000 apiece from the Committee for Hispanic Causes-BOLD and Transport Workers Union of America, $2,500 from the Office and Professional Employees International Union and $1,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Asencio paid out more than $53,000, leaving his campaign with just over $14,000 in cash on hand at the end of September. Most of his spending covered campaign mailers and polling.

His filings with the Federal Election Commission show he paid $17,600 to Alabama-based Impact Research and close to $17,000 to Bergmann Zwerdling Direct, a Democratic direct mail firm based in Washington, D.C.

Late last month, Asencio’s campaign released data from an Impact Research poll showing that while far more voters in CD 28 know of Giménez, those who know about both men prefer Asencio.

Pollsters concluded, “If Asencio has the resources to tell his story, he can quickly close the gap in this Congressional race. And with enough large-scale resources to cast doubts on Giménez, Asencio has a clear path to a competitive race.”

As it stood then, however, Giménez held a 10-percentage-point lead over Aesencio, 50-40%.

Odds and ends

Also running in CD 28 is Sugarloaf resident Jeremiah Schaffer, a Republican write-in candidate who reported no fundraising or spending between Aug. 4 and Sept. 30.

Since filing to run in April 2021, Schaffer reported raising and spending about $30,000. He also loaned his campaign $26,600.

CD 28, which was added to reflect the 2020 Census, is Florida’s southernmost district and encompasses a large, southwestern portion of Miami-Dade County and all of Monroe County.

During the Primary Election, 39,196 Republican voters cast ballots compared to 26,706 Democrats. However, CD 28 has more independent voters than either Republicans or Democrats, comprising 35% of the electorate.

In the past two General Elections, the district has swung widely. Former President Donald Trump was outvoted across precincts there in 2016. Four years later, he carried the area by 6%.

Early voting in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties begins Oct. 24. Election Day is Nov. 8.


Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect a $5,800 donation from the political committee of Herrera Beutler previously attributed to a similarly named Indiana nonprofit.

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.


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