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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Patrick Murphy leads fundraising among crowded field in Florida's U.S. Senate race



Among the six major candidates from both parties running to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate next year, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, continues to dominate the field in both quarterly fundraising and in the amount of money he's got on hand to spend.

Reports detailing fundraising efforts for the last three months of 2015 were due to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday. U.S. Senate campaigns typically file paper copies through the secretary of the Senate, so specific details on each candidate's donors and expenditures aren't yet available.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, is leading in fundraising and on Sunday went after U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, for posting a weak fourth quarter.

Here's a recap of what each campaign has reported their candidate's fundraising to be for the fourth quarter, which covers the period between October and December. (These figures do not include fundraising from allied super PACS, which some candidates have.)



Murphy vaulted to the top of the fundraising race several months ago, thanks to an early start to his campaign last spring and subsequent backing from key Democrats and party establishment supporters.

For the fourth quarter, his campaign said the Jupiter congressman raised $1.46 million, leaving him with nearly $4.3 million in the bank to spend heading into 2016. That latter figure is more than 16 times the amount his Democratic primary opponent -- U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson -- reported to have in cash on hand, as of Dec. 31.



The congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach leads the Republican candidates in fundraising and is second overall.

DeSantis reported raising $772,000 in the fourth quarter and said he had about $2.5 million in the bank, as of Dec. 31. That warchest is almost six times more than that of Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who trails the Republican field.


CASH ON HAND: $873,656

Wilcox, a defense contractor from Orlando, raised $324,641 in the last quarter — topping $1 million for the year.

And he has nearly $900,000 in the bank, more than any Republican candidate except DeSantis.


CASH ON HAND: $507,000

Jolly’s campaign raised $112,000 in the final quarter of 2015, also topping $1 million for the cycle. Shortly after the news broke, the DeSantis campaign released a statement drawing attention to the numbers, which Jolly released over the weekend when they might garner less attention.

In response, Max Goodman, Jolly's political director, said this about DeSantis: "Sadly, it's the only part of his political career he attends to, as evidenced by his recent missed votes to hang out with mega donors and college kids in Vegas, while Rep. Jolly and his House colleagues were attending to legislation to fund our veterans, law enforcement and 9/11 first responders.”


CASH ON HAND: $431,000

Despite endorsements from many key state lawmakers, Florida's lieutenant governor from Miami is well behind in fundraising.

Lopez-Cantera reported raising $318,000 in the last three months of 2015 and said he had $431,000 in cash on hand, heading into this year.


CASH ON HAND: ~$258,000

The Orlando congressman touts "an army of small-dollar progressive donors" but he has failed to catch up to Murphy's fundraising momentum, after joining the Democratic side of the race in mid-summer. Grayson reported raising $491,000 from donors during the fourth quarter, and Grayson himself added to that by making a $100,000 loan -- which is on top of previous loans he's given his campaign.

As of Friday, Grayson's campaign was still tallying his exact cash on hand, but his spokesman said it was around the same amount "or slightly less" than what Grayson had heading into October (which was $258,700).

North Palm Beach attorney Pam Keith is also running in the Democratic primary race against Murphy and Grayson. Her fundraising previously has been nominal, and her campaign did not return an email from the Herald/Times on Friday requesting her fourth-quarter fundraising figures.

[Last modified: Monday, February 1, 2016 10:53am]


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