With the primary election fast approaching, the former Democratic Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell fell more than $325,000 last month in its bid to unseat the incumbent Republican U.S. Representative. Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th congressional district.
The sum represents more than half of the combined expenses he and five other candidates running for CD 27 spent in July, according to their Federal Election Commission deposits.
He has also raised $102,000 since July 1, thanks to a wave of individual donors, including Alain PerezCEO of a modular structure and tent company Event Starand lawyer Roland Sanchez-Medinawho chairs the South Florida Hispanic Room Trade.
The Miami Association of Firefighters was Russell’s only organizational donor last month, donating $5,000 to match his earlier contribution to his campaign.
Russell’s July expenses largely went to consulting firms for running various advertising campaigns and outreach efforts. He paid $57,000 for the digital consultancy, $24,000 for the general media consultancy, and $20,000 for the communications consultancy.
Collectively, his greatest consultancy-related assignments were for “field consultancy”. Of the $88,000 he set aside for those services, most went to a Miami-based company JG Strategies and based in Boca Raton Mi Vecino Strategies.
Another $24,000 went to financial counseling.
Russell also spent $50,000 on television advertising, $30,000 on mailing expenses, and about $3,000 on campaign paraphernalia like signage and clothing.
He has made three contributions to local groups: $2,000 to the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, $500 to hello florida and $200 Believers of Authority Ministries, headquartered in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood, about a seven-minute drive from City Hall.
Russell won election to the City of Miami Commission in 2015 and held public office until June of that year, when he left his seat in accordance with Florida quitting law.
This week he launched a virtual telephone banking initiative on social media platform ICT Tac. He has raised over $1.8 million since deposit to run for federal elections in June 2021.
His closest opponent in the Democratic primary, the state senator. Annette Taddeoalso spent big, throwing down $223,000 in just over a month.
More than 38% of this amount went to campaign direct mail and other print advertisements. Taddeo spent over $6,000 on digital ads and $3,000 on video production. She also paid about $23,500 to public polling firm SEA Polling. In June, Taddeo’s campaign released the results of an SEA poll showing her with a leader on Russell in Primary.
Taddeo raised nearly $204,000 in July through dozens of personal checks, including donations from the Pinecrest councilwoman Anna Hockhammerformer Mayor of Broward County Dale Holnessformer Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorensonformer mayor of Pinecrest Cindy Lernerand Janelle PerezDemocratic candidate for Senate District 38.
She also scored contributions of $10,000 from CAP Majority Room, SEIU Cope and CAP into the futurea political committee linked to the Speaker of the United States House Nancy Pelosiwhich also gave Taddeo an additional $2,000 through another PAC it operates.
Democrats win seatsa PAC led by US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, donated $5,000.
Also running for the Primary is the “100% grassroots football” candidate Angel Montalvoa self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
July wasn’t a particularly successful month for Montalvo, who said he only raised $455. He wasn’t active either; Montalvo told the FEC he only spent $18.
Montalvo has raised $27,000 this election cycle. He had less than $3,000 left as of August 3.
Salazar, meanwhile, spent just over $95,000 defending the seat she won in 2020. More than half went to various consulting services.
Of the $50,000 she paid to consulting firms and professionals, 74% went to finance and fundraising consulting, 10% went to compliance and shipping consulting, 10% paid for political strategy consulting and 6% covered digital communication consulting.
Salazar also spent $9,000 on direct mail.
She was much more active on the fundraising side, raising nearly $202,000 in July through hundreds of personal checks and passbook or organizational donations.
Micky Arisonpresident of a cruise line based in Miami Carnival Corp., donated an additional $1,800 to Salazar’s campaign. He contributed $5,800 this election cycle.
His wife, Magdalenedonated $3,000, bringing his donation total to $4,800.
Salazar also took $10,000 each from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The National Multifamily Housing Council donated $5,000 doubling its previous donation. The National Association of Realtors did the same with a check for $2,000.
Salazar’s opponent in Primary, Frank Polois a donald trump– inspired candidate who attacked her on several occasions accusing her of being “a Republican in name only” for having sometimes voted with her Democratic colleagues in Congress.
Last month, he raised about $4,500 through checks from two donors. One was a real estate agent Sean Reginaaccording to Polo’s documents, although a google search for a person with that name in the real estate business did not yield any results.
Polo spent about $8,000, about half of which was attributed to database service costs. He also said he spent $2,000 on advertising and printing, plus another $1,800 to acquire a list of likely voters in the area.
In total, Polo has raised around $27,000 since filing in January. His most recent report shows he has about $1,400 left.
CD 27 covers much of Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, North Bay Village, South Miami, West Miami, and unincorporated neighborhoods. company of Coral Terrace, Fisher Island, Glenvar Heights, Kendall, Olympia Heights, Richmond Heights, Sunset, The Crossings, Three Lakes, Westchester and Westwood Lakes.
Neighborhood analyzesas redesigned by Gov. Ron DeSantis administration, show it is safer than before for Republicans, but remains Florida’s most tightly divided congressional district.
It’s also 74% Hispanic, the highest percentage for the voting-age population anywhere in the state.
Early voting is now underway for the August 23 primary election. The general election is November 8.