While the mayor's race in Hialeah seems to be attracting the big bucks -- former mayor Raul Martinez and former State Sen. Rudy Garcia (REP, District 40) have more than $240,000 between them -- the money is not trickling in as much for council candidates.
Not all the campaign finance reports for the upcoming Hialeah elections are in, but those that are indicated new candidates running for Jose Yedra's open seat or challenging the sitting members of the council are out-raising the incumbents.
Only two incumbents had filed reports that were due Monday. Vivian Cassals-Muñoz raised $600 and Jose Caragol, $800. Combine that with the $1,000 interim Mayor Carlos Hernandez gave himself, and it looks like the First Hialeah Bank of Julito has run dry, or at least it's political campaign division.
The reports can also be mailed in and they are on time as long as they were postmarked Monday. And that means we should have them by tomorrow, for sure. But already, from the ones the city clerk does have, the outsiders are drumming up more campaign contributions.
Leading the list of candidate contenders is Danny Bolaños, the former police chief's son and ex-cop himself who resigned in 2003 after a police shooting that was reviewed more than most in what seemed like a politically-charged atmosphere (he had years earlier been accused of using excessive force and acquitted of simple battery for the same incident). He now works in at the Hialeah Housing Authority (which is always good for a few thousand absentee ballots). Bolanos, who lost a bid for the council in 2009 but has deep support among Hialeah's hierarchy, has raised $10,550 for his run and has not declared which seat he will go after. His report also shows he stopped fundraising on June 8, around the time he started helping Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez win votes in Hialeah. Strange then, that among his donations are two $500 maximum contributions from the Cayon family, who donated tens of thousands to the Bolanos nemesis, former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, who lost to Gimenez in the runoff.
Number 2 in the money race on council seats is Ramiro Sicre, who has declared to run in Group I for Yedra's open seat and has raised almost $9,000. Only $845 was in the last period, however, and much of that from outside Hialeah or even Miami-Dade as he apparently hits up friends in Winter Springs, Orlando, Davie and Sunrise, as well as Tucker, Georgia. In the same group, Fernando Alvarez -- the first guy to put signs up everywhere -- -- raised $1,440 in the last period (all from Hialeah or Miami Lakes) for $3,550 total.
Ladra still needs to chew on these reports, compare them to each other -- to see who is helping who -- and look for more Robaina (and Gimenez) money to see how these candidates are aligned. But that takes a little more time and you, dear readers, were chopping at the bit for whatever information there is, since Hialeah does not put the campaign reports online.
And maybe there will be more reports to consider tomorrow. Ladra is particularly interested in the one from State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez (REP, District 102), who had already reportedly raised more than $100,000 for his mayoral bid but has not been heard from and is rumored to be dropping out and dropping into a council race. He has likely spoken to both Martinez and Garcia because Gonzalez is now the prize.
Since council members are elected at large in Hialeah, not by district, and often run on slates that combine their expenses, both Garcia and Martinez would do wise to get him on their "teams" and get some of that money.
Especially since it looks like nobody else has any.