Recently released figures may show District 107 State House candidate Jorge Luis Lopez rolling in the dough, but Democrat Rep. Luis Garcia's camp is questioning whether their challenger is really leading the fundraising pack if half of Lopez's contributions are self-written loans.
Lopez's campaign e-mailed a release boasting the candidate as having raised $215,000 since kicking off his campaign ten weeks ago --$100,000 of that money Lopez loaned to himself. Another $12,500 came from the state Republican Party and $7,500 in-kind contributions.
Lopez, an attorney and lobbyist who reported an annual gross income of more than $926,000 on his state financial disclosure forms, has pledged "to match dollar-for-dollar" all the funds raised by his campaign committee.
"He is overwhelmed at the response and support from the community," said Jose Mallea, Lopez's campaign chairman. "When he realized he had to write that check, he almost did a double take. But he was glad to follow through on his promise."
Garcia, a former Miami Beach city commissioner, has raised $93,185 since March 2007; $31,500 of that money coming in the last filing quarter.
"It is misleading to have claimed raising over $200,000 when over half of that amount comes from Jorge Luis and the Republican Party,'' said Christian Ulvert, Garcia's campaign manager. "During these tough times most Floridians only dream of having thousands of dollars in disposable income. However, this election will not be won by who can raise the most money. It will be decided by the voters."
Republicans have been gunning hard for the seat that Garcia, a former Miami Beach Commissioner took from the R column in 2006. The seat was previously held by Gus Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican.
For more on the numbers of the race read here.