Here’s where sh*t stands: the “taking a look at fundraising in Congressional races” edition

By on April 15, 2012

Today is the deadline for federal candidates for the US Senate and House to post their quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission.  Here are some of the reports which stand out, for better or worse.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux on Friday announced raising just $305,752 for the first quarter but his campaign said what really matters is the $1.2 million he has in the bank. “Cash on hand is what matters most and LeMieux and (Connie) Mack the Fourth are neck in neck,” Brian Seitchik, LeMieux’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “When Floridians’ attention turns to the Senate Primary, we will have the resources necessary to educate voters….”

Mack’s campaign has said it will report having raised $1 million in the quarter, giving him about $1.1 million in all.

Meanwhile, Bill Nelson’s campaign estimates that it has $9.5 million cash on hand, dwarfing both LeMieux and Mack.

As much as Florida is a priority for the GOP in the presidential election, you have to wonder if the National Republican Senatorial Committee will devote enough resources to help either LeMieux or Mack close the gap with Nelson.

Just last week, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm reserved approximately $25 million in airtime today in six targeted Senate races.  $25 million is likely what it would take for Republicans to beat Nelson.

So the bottom line is, does the GOP want to compete in those other six targeted races or take a chance in Florida?

I genuinely don’t know why Craig Miller is still running for Congress.

The former restaurant executive reportedraising just $68,369 in the quarter that ended March 31 in his bid for the Sixth Congressional District. That’s less than a third of what attorney Ron DeSantis raised ($227,000) and more than $100,000 less than another GOP primary opponent, former Jacksonville city councilman Richard Clark, who said he brought in $182,000 in the race.

Miller dropped out of a U.S. Senate race to pursue the new congressional seat, in a district that covers all or parts of St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties.

After this lackluster fundraising effort, I wouldn’t be surprised if Miller dropped out of a second race in this election cycle.

Democratic challenger Val Demings reported raising $330,000 in the first quarter, and the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that the incumbent she’s facing, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, raised just $150,000 in the three months. Demings has reported having $484,000 on hand, slightly more than the $391,000 the Sentinel said Webster will report for a March 31 account balance.

But don’t read too much into this yet.

Webster was outraised by incumbent Alan Grayson in 2010, but still won.

Patrick Murphy, who is challenging Allen West in Congressional District 18, raised $350,000 during the first quarter, his campaign said. In all, Murphy, an accountant, has nearly $1.7 million and has more than $1 million in the bank.

That ranks Murphy among the top congressional challengers in the nation in fundraising.

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