Even before he began rallying for contributions after calling 80 progressive Democrats communists, Rep. Allen West was among the national leaders in the fundraising pack for the quarter ending March 31, according to documents filed with federal election officials, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.
With $1.8 million in contributions for the first three months of 2012, West has positioned himself among the best-heeled candidates in the nation for 2012 election cycle, having raised more money in his re-election bid than all but two House members, putting him seventh among all 535 members of Congress.
West has raised nearly $7.7 million in his bid to return to Washington, having already spent more – $4.8 million so far – in his race than all but four House candidates around the country have raised for the entire cycle.
West still has $3.3 million in cash on hand. He is calling on supporters to turn in more, using his most recent controversial statements about communists in Congress to raise more money.
Nationally, the only House candidates who have raised more than West are House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio and Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota.
Running against West is Democrat Patrick Murphy, who raised $350,000 in the quarter and has raised more than $1.7 million for the cycle. Murphy has over $1 million in the bank.
West’s quarterly and overall collections dwarf other candidates for Florida House seats.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is second among Florida candidates. She raised $617,661 for the quarter, bringing her total for the upcoming election to $2.3 million, of which she has $1.7 million on hand.
Rounding out the top five Florida fundraisers for the quarter were Democrat challenger Alan Grayson ($576,872), Republican incumbent John Mica, ($450,678) and Democrat challenger Lois Frankel, who raised $408,414.
Republican Adam Hasner, who is running against Frankel for an open seat, is right on her heels.
He raised $335,482 for the quarter, bringing his total collections to $1.7 million, an amount roughly equal to hers.
Some candidates, incumbents mostly, relied on money in the bank as they consider re-election runs. Republican incumbent Cliff Stearns, raised only $95,260 for the quarter but is sitting with cash-on-hand totaling $2.4 million.
Incumbents Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Vern Buchanan are also sitting on substantial cash holdings with $1.9 million and $1.5 million respectively.