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Is the Miami-Dade Republican Party broke?

Technically, no. But after seeing financial statements for the party showing $12.66 in its federal account and $1,097.11 in its state account, one member of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee asked the blunt question at a meeting Wednesday night.

"Are we broke, basically?" a committeeman asked. "Is this party broke?"

The party was actually in worse shape in January -- the last time the committee met -- when the federal account had a balance of $36.28 and the state account had $25.81.

The party's chairman, state Rep. Erik Fresen of Miami, said the GOP spent almost all of its money electing Republicans last year. When Fresen took the party reins from U.S. Rep. David Rivera in December, goal number one was to rake in the cash.

Fresen says he did that, raising some $78,000 (much of it came from the party's Lincoln Day Dinner in February). "Never has this much been raised" by an incoming chairman in six months during a non-election year, Fresen told the committee.

But the party was still spending too much, he said -- almost 60 percent higher than any other local GOP in Florida, according to his research. "We have expenditures that are unsustainable," Fresen said.

So Fresen eliminated the party's main position: Executive Director J.C. Hernandez will be out of a job by the end of the month. But some committee members were still worried.

"How do we pay for stuff?" Committeewoman Angie Vasquez asked. She said the financial situation shouldn't just be blamed on Fresen, because the committee approved bills for "thousands and thousands of dollars" for campaign cellphones and consultants to get out the vote in November.

One of those consultants was Esther Nuhfer, Rivera's longtime consultant whom the party paid $150,000 between October and November without receiving detailed invoices of what the payments were for.