Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez won’t say if he’s going to run for county mayor, but his campaign coffers may be providing their own answer. Last month, Suarez raised zero dollars from donors.
The latest financial reports seem to confirm what Suarez has hinted at in recent months: despite bankrolling a series of television ads last summer that criticized incumbent Carlos Gimenez, the former Miami mayor no longer plans to seek the top job in the county.
In a text message Thursday, Suarez declined to un-muddy the political waters. “I have enough for reelection,” Suarez wrote of his current coffers, “and have not made a final decision on bigger fish.”
Suarez faces reelection for his District 7 commission seat in August, but could shift his campaign dollars to a mayoral run with donors’ permission. His January hiatus on fund-raising duties offers a stark comparison to Gimenez, who raised about $100,000. The mayor’s primary challenger, school-board member Raquel Regalado, raised about $30,000. Both figures come from campaign and political-committee accounts.
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Gimenez remains far ahead in the cash battle, with about $2.6 million on hand, according to reports. Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, has a little less than $320,000, according to the latest reports. Gimenez is raising enough money that his professional fund-raiser, Brian Goldmeier, earned $45,000 in January alone from the mayor’s campaign and his Miami-Dade Residents First political committee.
Of the $30,545 that Regalado raised in January for her campaign and Serving Miamians committee, $25,000 came from Miami auto magnate Norman Braman.
Suarez faces reelection for his District 7 commission seat in August, the same time Gimenez is slated to face Regalado and three low-profile challengers who have yet to report any donations. The non-partisan primary often decides county races, since a November run-off is only needed if no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote.
In October, Suarez held a fund-raising banquet designed to test his viability as a mayoral candidate. He said the donations haul fell short of expectations.
It also marked the virtual end of his fund-raising push, according to reports. That month saw $94,000 in donations to his campaign account, followed by $5,165 in November, $3,100 in December and zero in January. Suarez’s political committee, Imagine Miami, has been idle since collecting about $20,000 in November.