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Multiple Democrats raise over six figures in race to replace Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Updated)

Ileana 2

@alextdaugherty 

A slew of Democrats are aiming to replace outgoing Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 2018, and the first fundraising totals since seven Democrats have officially joined the race are beginning to trickle in. 

State Rep. David Richardson, state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez and former federal judge nominee Mary Barzee Flores have all raised over $280,000 in the latest fundraising quarter, according to numbers provided to the Miami Herald from their campaigns. The latest fundraising quarter, which ended on September 30, is the first quarter since the trio officially announced their bids. 

Richardson leads the trio in total money during the last three months, as he will report over $500,000 in deposits after officially entering the race in July. But Richardson also loaned himself $250,000, putting him just behind Rodríguez and Barzee Flores in money raised from donors. His campaign reports that he received contributions from over 2,400 individuals and 92 percent of his donors contributed $200 or less.  

"I’m honored to have received such tremendous support from a broad spectrum of Democrats,” Richardson said in a statement. “In just 82 days our supporters came out when we needed them most in order to help us demonstrate strength in our critical first fundraising quarter.”

Rodríguez raised over $280,000, according to his campaign, with 1,500 total donors and an average contribution of $170. He was also recently endorsed by the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a potential additional source of funds. He announced his plans to run in May but officially kicked off his campaign a month later. 

 

“Our first fundraising quarter saw immense support from a diverse coalition of local residents who are sick and tired of the political games played in Washington, D.C.," Rodríguez said in a statement. "With their continued support, we will stand up to Donald Trump and his relentless efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and fight for real reforms that put everyday Americans ahead of the insiders and special interests."

Barzee Flores, who announced her candidacy in July, will report having raised $303,095 in the fundraising quarter. According to her campaign, she had over 500 individual donors with two-thirds of the contributions from Miami-Dade County.  

“This outpouring of support shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows Mary," said campaign manager Sam Miller in a statement. "She’s lived, worked and served in this community her whole life and has a deep well of respect and support as a result. Donors know that Mary will fight for the values of Miami in Congress and have reached in deep to make sure she has the resources to get there.”

Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez raised $55,515 in the latest quarter. She declared her candidacy before Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement and reported over $184,000 raised in the second quarter of 2017 before Richardson, Rodríguez and Barzee Flores jumped in. 

"In our first quarter of fundraising, we raised $184,411.42. The goal for the third quarter was $50,000," Rosen Gonzalez said in an email. "We set that amount because we knew that a lot of our supporters were going to be focused on municipal races. This quarter was also a challenge in light of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We’re still dealing with the clean-up from Irma all across South Florida.  Nevertheless, we still managed to exceed our fundraising goal." 

Miami commissioner Ken Russell, who hasn't officially joined the race but formed an exploratory committee that allowed him to fundraise, declined to share his latest fundraising numbers after raising $133,000 during the previous quarter. 

"I’m still very seriously considering this in my heart," Russell said. "The fundraising is going well enough that I’ve been able to go to Washington and conduct polling." 

University of Miami academic adviser Michael Hepburn and Mark Anthony Person have also declared candidacies in the Democratic primary. 

UPDATE 10/6/17: Matt Haggman's campaign released his fundraising numbers and the former Knight Foundation Director and Miami Herald reporter who joined the race in August raised $512,000 with $469,000 cash on hand. The total puts him at the top of the early money list among Democrats. His campaign said the total is "the most individual contributions any FL-27 candidate has raised in a single quarter in at least 20 years." 

"This is how change happens – by people across the community coming together and stepping up,” Haggman said in a statement. "I will be a congressman willing to take on President Trump and willing to fight to create opportunities for everyone, which is what I have done in our community throughout my career." 

The latest fundraising totals must be formally filed with the Federal Election Commission by October 15. 

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