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Like others in FL, million-dollar Romney donor Mike Fernandez leans Jeb-ward


Billionaire healthcare executive Miguel “Mike” Fernandez was an early support of Mitt Romney’s in 2011– and he was a generous giver, contributing at least $1 million to elect the Republican, hosting a big fundraiser and, he estimates, getting others to contribute as much as $7 million more.

But Fernandez is from Coral Gables. That makes him a neighbor of former Gov. Jeb Bush. So he likely would choose Jeb over Mitt (like, say, former ambassador Mel Sembler or Romney’s former Florida campaign manager Brett Doster).

Asked if he plans to contribute to Bush, Fernandez was quick to reply by text message: “When asked, I would be happy to do so. Mi Casa is Jeb's Casa!!”

Fernandez wouldn’t say if he has definitely committed to Bush, though he’s ready to give.

“I have known Jeb for over 20 years and friends support friends,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez did discount a rumor that he personally rebuffed Romney go-betweens who had reached out to him recently.

“I have not spoken nor heard anything from Gov. Romney's camp. I believed, he would have been a great President. I just don't know if he will run, again,” Fernandez said. “I also do not know if Gov. Bush will run, but I would happy to support him, if he decides to enter the arena. At this time all that I do know is that he is still evaluating the possibility. As I have done in the past, I would also be happy to hold an event for his benefit, but we have not scheduled a fundraising event as of today.”

But soon, Fernandez will have the chance.

Southern Strategies Group, the powerhouse lobbying firm that represents some of Fernandez’s business interests, plans to hold a Tallahassee fundraiser next month. Fernandez has a home nearby. But this fundraiser is clearly not limited to Fernandez. Southern Strategies' founder, Paul Bradshaw, has longstanding ties to Bush and his wife, Sally Bradshaw, is a top Bush adviser.