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| Columns |

Norman Braman, Magic City Casino Among Top Donors in Miami Mayor's Race

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The Miami Mayor's race is still five months away, but a majority of the city's politically influential power brokers are lining up behind Commissioner Francis Suarez, who is looking to take out popular incumbent Tomas Regalado with more than one million bucks in his campaign war chest. Regalado has his work cut out, having only raised $351,997 between his campaign account and his electioneering communications organization, Serving Miamians.

Banana Republican scanned the campaign reports for Serving Miamians and Suarez's ECO, The Future Is Now, to identify some of the big money players who are backing the two most well-known candidates in the mayor's race.

Suarez has received a flurry of $2,500 and $5,000 contributions from Marin & Sons Inc., a political consulting firm owned by Miami city hall lobbyist Steve Marin; DR International Consultants, a company owned by Hialeah power broker Herman Echevarria; and Capitol Gains, a political consulting firm owned by Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo. But those weren't the biggest donors.

Super lobbyist Ron Book and the law firm Lydecker, Lee, Berga & de Zaya each ponied up $10,000. West Flagler Associates, the company that owns Magic City Casino, gave The Future Is Now $15,000. And two local firms, Simply Healthcare Plans LLC, and Nsoro Mastec LLC, a communications company founded by the late Cuban exile leader Jorge Mas Canosa, each kicked in a whopping $25,000.

Meanwhile, the most Regalado's committee has received is $10,000 apiece from Norman Braman and World Amherst Media, a company that puts up billboards in the city. Art collectors Martin Marguilles and Carlos de la Cruz each donated $5,000 to Serving Miamians, as well.

Although some donors are hedging their bets. World Amherst also gave $5,000 to Suarez's committee. Law firm Greenberg Traurig ponied up $5,000 to Serving Miamians and $5,500 to The Future Is Now.

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

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