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Two Democrats raise six figures in bid for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat

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The money race for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's open congressional seat is underway. 

Two Democrats, Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Miami City commissioner Ken Russell, told the Miami Herald they both raised over $100,000 during the second quarter of 2017.  

Rosen Gonzalez told the Miami Herald she has raised $193,000 with $171,000 cash on hand. Russell told the Miami Herald he raised $133,000 and has $128,000 cash on hand. 

Both totals have not been publicly released yet. 

National Democrats see Ros-Lehtinen's seat, which includes major portions of Miami Beach and the city of Miami, as a prime pickup opportunity in 2018. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in Ros-Lehtinen's district, the highest margin of any seat in the country currently held by a Republican. 

Other Democrats in the running include state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, state Rep. David Richardson, academic adviser Michael A. Hepburn and Mark Anthony Person. Rodriguez and Richardson officially declared their candidacies in July and therefore won't have fundraising totals in the latest quarter, which ended on June 30. 

Rosen Gonzalez said she was running before Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement and filed her candidacy on April 13, meaning she was fundraising throughout most of the quarter. 

"My campaign is using an unconventional local team to make sure that our donors' dollars are put to the best use possible," Rosen Gonzalez said in an email. "While I know that raising money is important, I want to stay focused on meeting people. My campaign finances reflect a diverse group of people who believe in me, especially Miami Beach, where I currently serve."

Russell isn't officially in the race. He filed an exploratory committee to gauge interest and began fundraising about four weeks ago. Russell said he'll make a decision one way or the other by the end of the summer. 

"Anyone who declares right off the bat is going to be the first out the gate and get the attention and publicity around that," Russell said. "For me, it’s more methodical, it’s more having a proper plan in place so that when I do declare I’ll be geared up." 

Republican Bruno Barreiro, a Miami-Dade County commissioner, raised $176,000 during the quarter, he told the Miami Herald earlier this week. Barreiro is one of three Republicans, including former Miami-Dade mayoral candidate and school board member Raquel Regalado and Maria Peiro, planning to run in the Republican primary.