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Miami-Dade mayoral hopefuls rake in campaign cash

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his main challenger, County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, stepped up their fundraising in the first three months of the year, according to campaign finance reports for the quarter that ended March 31.

Gimenez maintains a wide lead in total fundraising. He began accepting contributions last year, shortly after getting elected following the recall of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Since Oct. 1, Gimenez has raised $694,955. More than a third --- $274,970 -- came in the last three months.

Martinez, for his part, did not open an account until late January, when he officially launched his campaign. Since then, he has raked in $111,774.50.

Neither of the totals includes money raised by electioneering communications organizations, or ECOs -- political committees that, unlike an individual campaign account, can accept unlimited contributions (though they cannot be used to outright endorse a candidate).

Gimenez's committee, Common Sense Now, brought in $350,850 last quarter. Martinez, who has said he will raise funds through a committee, has ties to Get It Done, an ECO that in the first three months of the year raised $213,750.