Campaign finance reports for the month of October were due Tuesday; one such report that is worth taking note of is the fundraising for Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez.
Gimenez, who is up for re-election in 2016 and formally announced his campaign Oct. 1, posted an eye-popping $1.2 million for the month, between his campaign and political committee (almost $800,000 of which came to the campaign by way of checks under $1000). That figure is in addition to the nearly $1.6 million his political committee had banked before the October announcement, putting Gimenez at nearly $3 million raised a year out from the election.
Incumbent mayors in big cities have an inherent advantage when it comes to the cash race (except when they don’t; see: Lenny Curry v. Alvin Brown), but Gimenez’s totals take it to a previously unseen height as far as Florida mayoral money.
And as anyone who’s written a check to the Mayor since he first ran for the office back in 2011 knows, there is a driving force behind this fundraising prowess, in the form of Miami-Dade County money man, Brian Goldmeier.
“Goldmeier has been flawless and relentless. He takes a lot of the load off the Mayor and is a big part of why Mayor Gimenez is so financially dominant right now,” said Brian May, an active Miami-Dade lobbyist with Floridian Partners.
Since he started raising coin for Gimenez in 2011 when the now-Mayor was a County Commissioner and long-shot candidate to replace recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez, Goldmeier has rapidly risen to become the go-to fundraiser for County Commission, countywide referendum and city elections in Miami-Dade County. His company, BYG Strategies, has appeared in the financial reports of 6 out of the 13 current members of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, including the current BCC chairman, Jean Monestime. He also was the fundraiser in chief for the successful countywide initiatives to issue bonds to finance new school construction in Miami, and upgrade the safety-net Jackson Memorial Hospital, as well as renovate the Key Biscayne facilities that house the Sony IMG Tennis tournament.
Goldmeier cut his teeth as the South Florida fundraiser for Alex Sink’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, his last foray into partisan politics, before going nonpartisan and reaching his current dominance in local, Miami-Dade campaigns.
“Brian was a natural from day one. I’ve seen a lot of fundraisers over the years, but I’ve never met one as driven and aggressive as Brian,” said his former boss, Alex Sink. “We had to move him out of Tampa and down to Miami because he was a little too aggressive for the folks up here in Central Florida.”
There’s obviously a lot of time between now and the mayoral election next Fall, but the money Gimenez has banked with Goldmeier heading up the operation puts him in a position of strength that is without precedent in Miami-Dade. Gimenez campaign finance chair, Ralph Garcia Toledo, said of Goldmeier, “he’s one of the great pains in the asses I’ve ever met in politics or in life, but I can’t complain for one second about the job he’s done for Mayor Gimenez. Brian has been loyal to Carlos since Day One, and he serves the Mayor well.”