Raquel Regalado adds $143K to keep Miami-Dade Commission seat, past foe rebuilds war chest
Raquel Regalado was a GOP bright spot in deep blue Miami-Dade County.

Raquel Regalado
Some 60 people and 40 businesses and political groups gave to her campaign last quarter.

Republican Miami-Dade Commissioner Raquel Regalado amassed nearly $143,000 between Oct. 1 and New Year’s Eve to hold onto her seat representing District 7 at County Hall.

It was her first active quarter of fundraising this election cycle and amounted to more than the combined gains of two challengers, one of whom — former Pinecrest Mayor and state Rep. Cindy Lerner narrowly lost to her in 2020.

Some 60 people gave to Regalado in the fourth quarter (Q4). Carlos Migoya, CEO of the county’s public hospital system, Jackson Health, donated $5,000. Lobbyist Manny Reyes, the son of Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes, chipped in $3,000.

More than 40 businesses and political organizations contributed as well. Her biggest single donor was Miami-based real estate company 13th Floor Investment, which gave $11,000.

Homebuilder Atlantic Pacific Companies donated $10,000. So did a subsidiary of Coconut Grove-based real estate management company Swerdlow Group.

Regalado, a lawyer, talk radio host and former Miami-Dade School Board member, also received $5,000 apiece from T-Mobile and DoorDash.

She spent roughly $17,000 in Q4, leaving herself with $719,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Citizens for Excellence in Miami-Dade Government, heading into 2024.

Her spending included a $10,000 contribution to a 501(c)4 nonprofit called Miami-Dade Partnership for Prosperity, which has supported her political career for years, including during her 2016 run for Mayor.

The rest largely covered mailers, a photo shoot, advertising, accounting services and general campaign upkeep costs.

Lerner, a Democratic lawyer who launched her 2024 campaign in late October, collected $102,000 in just over two months. All of it came through her campaign account, though she is still operating — and last quarter spent from — her political committee, Protect Our Future.

“This campaign is about giving a voice to the people. Our fundraising success is a testament to the power of our message of fighting corruption and ensuring our beautiful neighborhoods are protected for future generations.” Lerner said in a statement. “I am especially proud that nearly 60% of my contributors were small-dollar donors chipping in $200 or less. These grassroots donations
send a clear message that District 7 voters want a fighter on the County Commission who works for the community, not big developers and monied special interests.”

Around 180 people from a variety of professional backgrounds gave to Lerner in Q4. So did six businesses.

Her largest gain was a $50,000 self-loan.

Lerner spent $27,000. Most of that sum, $21,000, went to Miami Beach-based consulting firm Polaris Public Affairs. The rest covered an event venue fee and web design, web hosting, video production and campaign material costs.

Combined with carry-over funds in her political committee, Lerner ended the year with close to $125,000 in campaign cash.

Meanwhile, the candidate who was the first to file for the District 7 contest this cycle appears to have taken Q4 off in terms of fundraising.

Republican real estate executive and Community Council member Richard Praschnik reported no gains through his campaign account or political committee, Building a stronger Community.

He spent $1,700 on campaign advertising, accounting fees and a subscription to Florida voter data website WebElect.

As of Dec. 31, he held about $8,300.

District 7 covers Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, portions of Coral Gables, South Miami and Miami, including Coconut Grove and Virginia Key, and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Kendall and Sunset.

All candidates for each Miami-Dade Commission seat will compete against one another in the Aug. 20, 2024, Primary Election, regardless of party affiliation.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the two top vote-earners will compete in a runoff culminating in the Nov. 5, 2024, General Election.

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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