‘Brazilian butt lift’ group biggest among Juan Fernandez-Barquin’s post-Primary donors list

Juan Fernandez-Barquin
The coalition of Miami plastic surgeons last week gave him $10K, nearly a third of his post-Primary gains.

Republican Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin raised close to $33,000 in the 50 days following the Primary Election, thanks to a strong showing from doctors and medical organizations, particularly a group focused on posterior enhancements.

He also spent more than $81,000 to hold onto his seat representing House District 118, which covers a narrow strip of West Miami-Dade County, including the unincorporated neighborhoods of Kendall, Perrine, Sunset and Westchester.

Less than one month from Election Day, the incumbent held $123,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Floridians United.

Four people donated to Fernandez-Barquin between and including Aug. 24 and Oct. 12. Personal check values ranged from $35 to $1,000.

The rest of his gains came through organizational and corporate contributions. Close to half was from the medical industry.

Miami-based plastic surgeons coalition Surgeons for Safety, which in June launched a campaign to combat Florida Board of Medicine-approved restrictions on “Brazilian butt lifts,” gave Fernandez-Barquin $10,000.

The group took exception with a new rule prohibiting surgeons from performing more than three gluteal fat grafting procedures per day and requiring them to use ultrasound during the procedure. They contend the Board of Medicine rule “threatens patient safety by imposing an unproven, radical departure from accepted techniques for performing gluteal fat transfers.”

Private hospital operator HCA Healthcare gave $3,000. The Florida Podiatry PAC gave $1,000, as did Teladoc Health, a multinational virtual health care company headquartered in New York.

The real estate and construction industry showed up for Fernandez-Barquin as well.

Holding Builders Accountable, a political committee run by Tampa lawyer John “Jed” Thomas, chipped in $7,500. The Florida Association of Realtors donated $3,000 through three subgroups, while the Florida Homebuilders Association and Associated Builders and Contractors gave $1,000 apiece.

Three insurance groups — Ace American Insurance, Zurich American Insurance Co. and the Florida Surplus Lines Association — each donated $1,000.

The Gulfstream Park Racing Association, which operates a thoroughbred racetrack and casino business in Hallandale Beach, donated $2,500.

Regions Bank, which in recent years has expanded its footprints in Florida and Georgia, gave $2,000.

Fernandez-Barquin accepted $1,000 contributions from the Title Industry of Florida PAC, Florida ACRE, Florida Cable Telecommunications and Charter Communications, better known to some consumers as Spectrum.

The Republican Party of Florida gave him close to $38,000 worth of in-kind aid for research, staff and polling costs.

More than half his spending — $42,000 — paid for printing, demographic research, phone banking, polling and direct mail services from Miami-based public affairs and communications firm Marin and Sons.

He paid $6,000 to Cape Coral-based Upper Hand Strategies and $4,000 to Miami-based Winning Strategies Inc. for political consulting.

Coastal Angler Magazine, which publishes a Miami edition, received more than $1,000 for advertising spots.

Fernandez-Barquin also kicked $1,000 to the campaign of GOP insider and former Lee County Commissioner Vicki Lopez, who is running for nearby House District 113, which encompasses parts of Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Miami.

The rest of his spending covered general upkeep, staffing and accounting costs.

Farias, meanwhile, raised about $4,200 from Aug. 24 to Oct. 7, mostly through grassroots contributions.

The former South Bay Community Council member and lone Democrat running in HD 118 this cycle also spent more than $19,000 — his largest round of campaign spending since he filed for the race in May 2021.

On Oct. 8, exactly one month from Election Day, he had about $40,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Friends of Farias. That’s $10,000 less than the $50,000 loan he gave his campaign in March.

More than 30 people donated to Farias with checks of between $1 and $500.

He received three corporate contributions: $1,000 from Bay Harbor Islands-based Telsco Construction and $500 apiece from Contierra Engineering Contractors and Affiliated Healthcare Centers, both Miami-based.

The preponderance of Farias’ spending, $10,000, covered a pair of rent payments for campaign office space.

He also spent more than $2,000 on postage costs, nearly $600 on ad placements with Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and $475 on signage material.

The rest covered bank fees and payment, gas and water for canvassers. Farias credited some canvassers with $720 worth of volunteer work, too.

Fernandez-Barquin, a criminal defense and real estate lawyer who has served in the House since November 2018, defeated two Primary challengers Aug. 23 with 65% of the vote. The Nov. 8 General Election will decide whether he or Farias, a former candidate for the Miami-Dade Commission and electrician in private life who has embraced his long shot position in the contest.

Early voting begins Monday and runs through Nov. 6.

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

  • Don’t Look Up

    October 21, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    Another Florida man story. Most plastic surgeons refuse to do “butt enhancement” surgery because the procedure is far too dangerous.

    ……..BUTT not in DeSantis’s FREEDUMB STATE OF FLORIDA.

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