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Big Day for Cash-Hungry Candidates

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June 30th was a very significant day for anyone running (or thinking about running) for public office next year. 

That's because it's the final day of the year's second fundraising quarter and candidates running for State and Federal office will soon be forced to report their haul.  The totals, and how they're reported by the media, will help shape races for the next three months. 

In the U.S. Senate contest, all eyes will be on Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. 

While Crist didn't get into the race until half-way through the reporting period, he's still expected to outraise Rubio by a significant amount due to his well-developed network of big money backers.  With support from former Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee, Rubio is trying to tap into a national base of conservative donors who give small and medium-sized contributions.

We'll soon get to see just how well each man has fared.

Closer to home, the main focus will likely be on former House Speaker John Thrasher, who recently threw his hat into the ring to run for the State Senate seat being vacated by Jim King. Thrasher is facing three Republicans in what's expected to be a very costly primary fight. To date, the fundraising leader is former State Representative Aaron Bean. However, City Councilman Art Graham and businessman Dan Quiggle have been ramping up their fundraising in recent months and both should report significant numbers.

Quiggle tapped into his email list for a last minute personal appeal to donors, writing: "Today is the last day of our first full fund raising quarter - it has been a success, but we still need your help! We are raising the funds necessary to win this essential race.  Most of our contributions have been $500, the legal limit. However, I won't simply be judged on the total amount raised, I will also be judged on the total number of donors."   He then went on to request that people make a symbolic donation of $17.76 in honor of Independence Day.

This day is also significant for the many people planning a run for office, but who haven't yet announced their intentions.  The weeks after a reporting period end are often filled with declarations from new candidates.  They'll join the race secure in the knowledge that they'll have almost three months to get their fundraising legs under them before it's time to publicly report the state of their bank accounts for the first time.

Between now and next Friday, candidates will be required to file their forms and report all contributions and expenditures for the period running from April 1st to June 30th. Be sure to read the Observer next week and we'll let you know who's up, who's down, and who can't even afford to put gas in their campaign bus.

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