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Meek & Rubio Report Second Quarter Fundraising

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U.S. Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek raised $1.2 million in the quarter that ended June 30, campaign officials said, which puts the Democrat well ahead of one potential Republican but likely behind another. GOP dark horse candidate Marco Rubio raised $340,000 during the quarter, his campaign reported on Tuesday.

Rubio is running against Gov. Charlie Crist to become the Republican candidate to replace Mel Martinez, who is retiring after a single term.

The deadline for federal candidates to report fundraising from the beginning of April to the end of June is not until July 15, but the underdog campaigns began touting their takes early. The July 10 th deadline for statewide candidates is even closer, but neither CFO Alex Sink nor Attorney General Bill McCollum had jumped the gun to report their collections by Tuesday afternoon.

Crist also has not released numbers for his haul, but campaign aides have said they expect to raise about $3 million. That did not stop Meek’s campaign from feeling good about raising over $1 million for a second straight quarter, which spokesman Adam Sharon said came from more than 4,000 individual contributors.

“We take pride in our number,” spokesman Adam Sharon told the News Service of Florida Tuesday. “We think it shows both range and depth. It is the most money raised by a non-incumbent Democrat running for Senate next year.”

Sharon acknowledged Meek’s second quarter numbers would likely pale in comparison to the popular governor’s figures, despite the fact that Crist officially entered the race halfway through the period and Meek became the first declared candidate in January. But Sharon said Meek relied more heavily on small-dollar donors than Crist likely did, meaning they will not have to scour the state for entirely new donors next time around.

“We have a lot of contributors but very few are maxed out, so we can go back to these people a second and third time and say ‘hey you have given $5 or $500, we hope you can give some more’,” Sharon said. “We know the governor is going to post a big number. He may raise more money, but we feel good that we have a lot of room to expand our campaign. We are going to have comparable numbers (in the end).”

A spokesman for the Crist campaign didn’t return a call for comment.

Even as he was saying that his candidate would be able to hang with Crist in fundraising in the long run, Sharon admitted that if anyone can round up new donors every three months, it’s the governor who has universal name recognition in the state.

And although his fundraising was far off Meek’s pace and is likely to be even further behind frontrunner Crist’s, former Speaker Rubio also proclaimed himself happy with his take-in Tuesday.

“This is a strong statement about the direction you believe our Republican Party, our state and our nation should take,” Rubio said in an E-mail sent to supporters. “It is an encouraging reminder about how piece by piece, supporter by supporter and idea by idea, we are building a movement that will only grow and gain momentum as we continue on this path.”

It remains to be seen how encouraged Rubio will be when Crist’s numbers are released, however.

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