Republican candidates in a pair of special state Senate and House races in Miami have so far outraised their Democratic counterparts, according to their first batch of campaign finance reports.
Of the nine total candidates running to represent broad swaths of Miami-Dade County in Senate District 40 and House District 116, Republican Jose Felix Diaz in District 40 and Jose Mallea in District 116 have the most cash on hand thus far, while the sole Democrat in the House race has less than $20.
Diaz, a state representative, is the leading money-getter in either race. He raised $278,400 in the latest filing period, which ended June 8.
He has $245,770 on hand from 334 contributions, including about $53,000 from 55 political committees. That’s on top of the $825,654 tucked in the coffers of his own political committee, Rebuild Florida.
After loaning himself $50,000, former Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, also Republican, has $22,962 on hand from 31 contributions, including $3,000 from political committees. He raised $22,500 in the latest filing period.
Republican Lorenzo Palomares, a former Spanish-language campaign surrogate for President Donald Trump, raised $9,000. He has $10,047 on hand from 15 contributions, including $15,000 in loans to himself.
On the Democratic side, Annette Taddeo — the owner of a translation company who unsuccessfully ran for Florida’s 26th House District last year — raised $45,559 and has $42,286 on hand. Taddeo ranks second among all District 40 candidates in cash on hand. Fight Back Florida, Taddeo's political committee, raised $19,747, according to a listing of contributions and expenditures on its website, although that information has yet to be filed with the state.
Former Rep. Ana Rivas Logan, who previously served as a Republican before becoming a Democrat, raised $10,425. She has $8,035 on hand from 21 contributions, including a $2,500 loan from herself.
The sole independent in the race, Christian “He-Man” Schlaerth, raised $134. He has $3,013 on hand from eight contributions, including a $3,200 loan from himself.
In House District 116, candidates are running to fill the seat Diaz left open when he decided to run for Senate.
Mallea, who has received an endorsement from former Gov. Jeb Bush, raised $50,640. He has $88,489 on hand from 297 contributions, including $1,300 from lobbyists and $5,000 from three political committees, including the IRL PAC, which is affiliated with Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
His campaign also received $3,000 from gasoline distributors and $2,000 from tobacco distributors.
Daniel Perez, a Republican, raised $33,660 in the latest filing period. He has $35,419 on hand from 190 contributions.
The winner of the Republican primary will face off against Gabriela Mayaudon, a political newcomer who registered to vote for the first time earlier this month. The sole Democrat in the House race, Mayaudon has just $18.18 on hand. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party, her sole backer so far, cut her a check for $1,800 last week. She spent $1,781 of it to qualify for the race.
Both special elections were called by Gov. Rick Scott following the resignation of former Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who vacated his District 40 seat after using the n-word in conversation and hiring a former Hooters "calendar girl" and a Playboy model with no political experience as "consultants." Primaries will be held July 25, followed by the general election on September 26.