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In Florida governor's race, Democrat Sink retains fundraising lead over GOP's McCollum

You know Florida is in for an unusual election cycle when the Democratic candidate for governor raises more money than the Republican.

But for the second fundraising quarter in a row, Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink raised more money than Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum — $1.6 million for her, and more than $1 million for him, according to the campaigns.

"This overwhelming support from thousands of Floridians sends a clear message that it's time for a governor with a different kind of experience and a fresh approach," said Sink.

There was much better news for Republicans in the fundraising numbers reported by the state parties: more than $4 million for the Florida GOP and $2.5 million for the Democrats.

Unlike the candidates' campaigns, Florida political parties are not restricted to $500 contributions and can accept unlimited donations. The state party numbers arguably are more important because they can pay for much of a campaign's expenses, and Florida Democrats boasted the three-month fundraising period that ended Sept. 30 was the party's best third quarter in an off-election year.

McCollum would not say how much money he has on hand; Sink said she has nearly $3.6 million.

Despite the numbers, the latest fundraising reports underscore the difficulty of raising money in this economic climate. McCollum, without a serious primary opponent, has raised about $2 million to date. At this point in the 2006 cycle, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist had raised $5.6 million and Republican Tom Gallagher, $4.8 million. Democrat Alex Sink has raised more than $4 million to date; at this point four years ago, Democrat Jim Davis had raised about $1.1 million, and Rod Smith nearly $1 million.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

In Florida governor's race, Democrat Sink retains fundraising lead over GOP's McCollum 10/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:46pm]
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