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Matt Haggman leads in fundraising, David Richardson in cash on hand in Dem race for Ros-Lehtinen's seat



At least five Democrats in the hotly contested race to replace retiring Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have raised six-figures in the latest fundraising updates provided by their campaigns. 

Former Knight Foundation Director and Miami Herald reporter Matt Haggman leads the pack in money raised for a second straight quarter after entering the race in August. Haggman's campaign said he raised $402,000 with $747,000 on hand to spend as of the end of 2017. 

"We desperately need to turn a new page in our politics. I'm proud to have the support of so many friends and neighbors who are ready to do just that, and I'm proud to be running a campaign powered entirely by people—not PACs," Haggman said in a statement, referencing a pledge not to accept campaign contributions from political action committees that drew shade from some of his competitors.

PACs are typically created to further business and ideological interests or organized labor by funding candidates and campaigns. 

State Rep. David Richardson leads the race with $850,000 cash on hand according to a release from his campaign but he trails Haggman in fundraising after he loaned himself $250,000 for his campaign last quarter. That means Richardson raised just over $250,000 after his campaign said he raised $505,000 total from October to December. 

"We progressives must strive to implement a single-payer healthcare system, tackle climate change once and for all, reform our prison and criminal justice systems, and protect as well as expand upon the great strides we have made in this country on the rights of women, Hispanics, African Americans, the LGBT community, and other minority groups," Richardson said in a statement. 

Former federal judge nominee Mary Barzee Flores' campaign said she raised $220,000 in the latest quarter with $330,000 on hand. 

"Having spent her entire career in service to this community, the community she’s lived her whole life, makes Mary the exact type of candidate people want to rally around, a fact we’re seeing more and more each day," Barzee Flores' campaign manager Sam Miller said in a statement. "The tremendous amount of support from those who believe in Mary and share her values has allowed our campaign to build the sort of momentum that gets people paying attention, and they certainly have been." 

State Sen. José Javier Rodríguez raised $230,000 in the latest quarter with $325,000 cash on hand, according to his campaign. 

"We're in a pretty strong position," Rodríguez's campaign consultant Christian Ulvert said.

Miami commissioner Ken Russell, who officially joined the race in October after initially setting up an exploratory committee, raised about $222,247 with $325,392.35 cash on hand according to his campaign. Some of the cash on hand amount includes donations after December 31, 2017.

Russell's "record of progressive results, from increasing the minimum wage to expanding affordable housing to battling sea level rise as reasons for his campaign’s early appeal," campaign spokeswoman Sarah Awan said in a statement. 

Miami Beach commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said she raised $55,000 raised in the latest quarter with $175,000 on hand. 

"Our campaign doesn’t have a finance director or fundraising committee," Rosen Gonzalez said in an email. "These contributions came in from people who believe in our campaign." 

The fundraising totals are estimates and the final numbers could change when they are reported to the Federal Election Commission at the end of the month. 

University of Miami academic advisor Michael Hepburn said his campaign hasn't finished tallying the latest fundraising totals.

Democrats are buoyant about their chances of winning a Miami-based seat long held by Republicans in 2018, as Ros-Lehtinen's district voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by more than 19 percentage points in the 2016 election. 

Miami-Dade commissioner Bruno Barreiro is the lone Republican with enough money so far to mount a viable campaign, though two women recently filed paperwork with the FEC to run in the Republican primary. 

This post was updated with figures from José Javier Rodríguez and includes updated figures from Ken Russell after his campaign sent new information.