Suarez has not been coy about his fundraising efforts. Since February, his political organization has taken in about $615,000. He has held 10 fundraisers, he said, including a December event with former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.
“We’ve definitely been engaged in a substantial fundraising effort,” he said, noting that his father has also played a role.
In the most recent fundraising quarter, Suarez’s organization received $10,000 contributions each from powerhouse lobbyist Ron Book, the Brickell law firm Lydecker Diaz where Diaz is a senior partner, Magic City Casino and a company held by Jackson Health System Chief Executive Carlos Migoya.
A subsidiary of Miami-based infrastructure, engineering and construction firm MasTec gave $25,000. And Midtown Opportunities, a development company that owns parcels in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood, shelled out $50,000. (Suarez chairs the Midtown Community Redevelopment Agency, a semi-autonomous body tasked with using special tax dollars to revitalize the neighborhood.)
Suarez noted that the bulk of contributions to his political organization came from the business community. “That’s indicative of their confidence in me and the fact that they want to see the city move in a different direction,” he said.
He declined to comment on his vision for the future should he throw his hat into the ring.
Spending by Suarez’s political committee has topped $90,000 on polling, advertising, consulting services and contributions to other political organizations, records show.
Regalado’s main expense so far: $27,000 for a mailer sending season’s greetings to all Miami residents.
So far, the mayor has been able to raise about $160,000, records show. His campaign contributions come from a wide variety of individuals and businesses, and include $7,000 from auto magnate Norman Braman, his wife and 12 Braman companies.
Raquel Regalado said her father’s campaign is finalizing the paperwork to open a political communications organization of its own.
Regalado said he plans to be “very active” with his campaigning and fundraising efforts. “I love to campaign and luckily, my daughter loves to campaign, too,” he said.
Moreno, the FIU professor, said Regalado remains popular in Little Havana and Flagami, where Miami’s mayoral races are often won. But a solid war chest will be an important asset to Suarez. “Now the question is, can [Suarez] put together a campaign?” Moreno said. “Can he put together a message that compels people to make a change?”
Besides Regaldo, two other candidates have filed to run for mayor: Williams Armbrister and Jeffrey Anthony Benjamin. Armbrister hasn’t begun fundraising, according to city election records. Benjamin has amassed less than $1,000.