James Reyes, Rosie Cordero-Stutz lead fundraising for Miami-Dade Sheriff in April-May period

James Reyes Rosie Cordero-Stutz SBS
Both candidates drew a mixture of individual, business and political donations.

Miami-Dade Chief of Public Safety James Reyes, a Democrat, and Assistant Miami-Dade Police Director Rosie Cordero-Stutz, a Republican, led their respective Primary races in the April-May fundraising period for the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s race.

Reyes topped the now-15-person field with more than $150,000 amassed between his campaign account and political committee, Miami-Dade Safe & Secure.

Cordero-Stutz was right behind him with $147,000 collected through her campaign directly and through her PC, Citizens for a Safer Community.

Both candidates drew a mixture of individual, business and political donations.

“I am deeply grateful for every person that has gotten involved and powered our campaign to this point,” Reyes said in a statement Tuesday. “Together, we’re working to build a Sheriff’s Office that earns community trust, fights public corruption, and — above all else — prioritizes the safety of our residents, seniors and families.”

Cordero-Stutz said she is grateful for the “growing support” that helped push her campaign to the front of the GOP fundraising line last period.

“As the community learns more about my record of service and extensive experience in the Miami-Dade Police Department,” she said, “they are trusting that I will work to make our county safer and protect all our residents.”

Reyes’ biggest gain in the two-month stretch was a $20,000 from Democracy and Freedom PC, a political committee chaired by his senior campaign adviser, Christian Ulvert, that LPAC Interim Director Janelle Perez used during her unsuccessful Senate bid.

Reyes also received $15,000 from retired auto magnate Alan Potamkin and $10,000 apiece from financial adviser Nicholas Sadowsky, construction company ANF Group and a subsidiary of Miami Lakes-based development contractor Fenix.

Cordero-Stutz, who in April netted an endorsement from Donald Trump, got a $10,000 check from Miami Beach-based Sheridan Dental, her biggest single contribution.

She also accepted $6,000 from a curiously named Brooklyn construction company called Bill Gates LLC and $5,000 apiece from UniVista Insurance, health company lawyer Juan Carlos Santos, building contractor Larry Chynces and Infinity Health Care Management CEO Michael Blisko, among others.

After spending $118,000 and $53,000, respectively, Reyes and Cordero-Stutz hold $359,000 and $240,000 in their campaign coffers heading into June.

Republican Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez, a former Miami City Commissioner, had just over $204,000 after raising $98,000 and spending a whopping $183,500 in April and May.

He raised the second-most among all candidates, behind only Reyes, through May.

Twelve other active candidates turned in fundraising reports:

— Republican Miami-Dade Police Maj. Jose Aragu raised $47,400 in April and May and more than $184,000 since October. He had $86,000 left going into June.

— Retired Republican Miami-Dade Police Maj. Mario Knapp raised $43,000 in the last reporting period and $303,500 since June 2023. He had $224,000 by May 31.

— Retired Republican Miami-Dade Police Lt. Ernie Rodriguez raised more than $26,000 last period and $121,700 since September. He had $77,000 left at the end of last month.

— Republican lawyer and retired Miami-Dade Police Maj. Iggy Alvarez raised almost $26,000 last period and $240,000 since October. Of that, he had $180,000 left by June.

— Republican Jeffrey Giordano, a former Miami City Police hostage negotiator who owns and operates a protection services company, raised $14,500 last period and $17,600 since entering the race in February. He spent just $128 through May.

— Democratic Miami-Dade Police Maj. John Barrow raised about $4,400 last quarter and nearly $74,000 since filing in September. He had close to $18,000 remaining by this month.

— Democratic former federal agent Susan Khoury raised $3,300 in April and May to bring her total gains since she filed in September to $47,600. She held about $37,000 by June.

— Retired Republican Miami-Dade Police reserve officer Ale Fornet raised $4,000 last period and just over $4,100 overall since he entered the race in September. So far, he’s only spent $70.

— Republican Miami City Police officer Ruamen DelaRua raised almost $3,000 in the previous two months and close to $19,000 since November 2022. He spent all but $265 of that through May.

— Retired Democratic Miami-Dade Police Lt. Rickey Mitchell, a funeral home operator, raised $1,100 in April and May. Since filing for the race in March 2023, he’s added more than $293,000 to his campaign account, most of it self-given. He had $187,000 left by June.

— Republican John Rivera, a retired Miami-Dade Police sergeant and former police union President, added $1,000 to his campaign account last period and $40,500 since he filed in October. By May 31, he had $16,000 left.

— Republican Miami-Dade Police officer Rolando Riera again raised and spent none of the $1,800 he’s collected since entering the race in September.

One additional Republican candidate, ex-County Commissioner Joe Martinez, entered the race last week, after the end of the April-May fundraising period. A decorated former Miami-Dade Police lieutenant, Martinez was long considered a likely front-runner for Sheriff. Then Gov. Ron DeSantis removed him from office in September 2022 after he was booked on felony charges of unlawful compensation and conspiracy to commit the crime.

Martinez has denied all wrongdoing and called the case by Democratic Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle “politically motivated.” He is going to trial to defend himself.

As of 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Alvarez, Aragu, Cordero-Stutz, Fornet, Giordano, Khoury, Knapp, Mitchell, Reyes and Sanchez are listed as having qualified by the Miami-Dade Elections Department.

The qualifying deadline is noon Friday.

Republican Miami-Dade Police officers Jaspen Bishop and Orly Lopez and former Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez — a Republican-turned-Democrat — also filed to run for Sheriff but have since withdrawn.

Miami-Dade hasn’t had an elected Sheriff since 1966, when county voters eliminated the position after a grand jury report revealed rampant corruption within the department. Instead, the county Mayor serves as the de facto Sheriff and has since had an appointed Police Director or Chief of Public Safety who reports to them.

In 2018, 58% of Miami-Dade voters joined a statewide supermajority in approving a constitutional amendment requiring all 67 counties in Florida to have an elected Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Clerk of Courts by early 2025.

Candidates faced a Monday deadline to report all campaign finance activity through May 31.

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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