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Legislators make one last dash for fundraising cash

In an annual game of beat the clock, lawmakers fanned across the capital Monday with dollar signs in their eyes, chasing campaign cash from lobbyists.

When the annual legislative session begins Tuesday, most fundraising is off limits for two months -- a ban intended to discourage a perception of ``pay-to-play'' politics. Money is in high demand every election year, but lawmakers won't be able to resume the chase until May 1.

For now, the goal is simple: The more money legislators can raise, the less likely they are to attract tough opposition.

``Fundraising is not a virtue -- it's a necessity in a state with 19 million people and 11 media markets,'' said Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. The candidate for attorney general hosted a lunchtime event at an area watering hole, Clyde's & Costello's.

``You have to hold these fundraisers. It's the hardest part about running,'' he said.

The annual presession fundraising frenzy isn't immune from the ravages of Florida's economy, either. Full story here.