Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez retains his significant advantage in fund-raising as he begins his fall runoff contest with challenger Raquel Regalado. The incumbent raised about $240,000 in the debut campaign-finance report for the two-person race, compared to about $66,000 for Regalado, according to publicly available reports.
Gimenez's largest donations came from Norwegian Cruises, which rents a terminal in the county-owned Port Miami, and Turnberry, the company behind the Aventura Mall and the Fontainebleau Resort. Turnberry's aviation arm also rents a terminal at the county-owned Opa-locka Airport. Both Norwegian and Turnberry gave $50,000 to Miami-Dade Residents First, Gimenez's political committee.
Regalado, a school board member and daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, saw her largest donation from Pacific Cable Television, a local company with ties to a national controversy over two brothers Ecuador wants extradited for alleged bank fraud. The company is owned by the family of Roberto and William Isaias, who were convicted of embezzlement in Ecuador. Their family members are significant donors in national races, including to President Barack Obama and Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, prompting national scrutiny over possible influence in the extradition fight.
Pacific Cable gave $20,000 to Good Government in Miami-Dade, Regalado's political committee.
The most recent reports cover the week between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, dates which bookend the Aug. 30 primary that saw Gimenez fall about two points shy of crossing the 50-percent threshold needed to end the race. Instead, he's in a two-person runoff with Regalado, who took 32 percent of the vote.
Heading into the fall runoff, Gimenez's campaign and committees have about $405,000 to spend, compared to $118,000 for Regalado. In all, Gimenez has raised about $4.8 million, and Regalado just over $1 million.