A political action committee fully-funded by New York billionaire and progressive cause financier George Soros is pushing Brendan Ramirez in the Florida House District 30 Democratic primary.
United for Progress Political Action Committee dropped at least two mailers late last week touting Ramirez as “Progressive Leader. Health Care Champion.” sent to Democrats in HD 30 in advance of the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.
Ramirez, who runs an Orlando-based mental health care facility, was a filing-deadline week entry into the HD 30 race in late June.
He faces Clark Anderson of Casselberry and Maitland City Councilwoman Joy Goff-Marcil in the Democratic primary.
The winner will take on Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes in November. The district covers south-central Seminole County and north-central Orange County.
Ramirez said Monday that his campaign has not coordinated with United For Progress, and that he knows very little about the mailers.
Since the PAC was opened two years ago it has raised $900,000, all of it in direct contributions from Soros. This summer it has paid for some polling and research, but the only direct campaign activity has been on behalf of Ramirez, $9,429 spent on mailers on Aug. 9, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
That’s about as much as Ramirez’s official campaign has managed to spend through the Aug. 10 campaign finance reporting period: $9,601.
The PAC has weighed in on Central Florida races before. In 2016 United for Progress backed then-state Rep. Vic Torres in Senate District 15 election, which he won; Emily Bonilla for the Orange County Board of Commissioners District 5 election, which she won; and Benny Valentin in Florida House District 42, and Beth Tuura in Florida House District 47. Valentin and Tuura both lost. The PAC also backed some Democrats in South Florida, and Soros used another PAC to campaign for Aramis Ayala, who won the election to become Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney.
Anderson contended that the strategy for the mailers might actually be to support the candidacy of Goff-Marcil, not Ramirez, under the thinking that Ramirez could draw votes from Anderson, boosting Goff-Marcil’s chances in the three-way contest.
“This is just a continuation of this, our supposed head of the Florida House Victory Fund, [Democratic state Rep.] Amy Mercado, and Victor Torres have been working with Soros on a number of things. This is to split the vote and get their candidate, Joy, in,” Anderson charged.
“I’m from Chicago. It’s politics,” Anderson added. And then, “The way I counter that is I’m actually knocking on doors.”
Mercado responded, “I have nothing to do with Soros, but I’m honored that Anderson thinks I have that kind of sway. What he needs to do is focus on his message and race. That is a competitive primary.”
Torres said “those are my sentiments as well, exactly.”
Goff-Marcil was not available to comment.