Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Showing Them the Money

The Democratic candidates in all three races here in South Florida are out-raising the GOP incumbents.

Democrats for the second fundraising period in a row have outpaced Miami’s three Republican members of Congress, suggesting an increasingly competitive challenge for the incumbents.

Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez reported taking in $603,318 and closing the quarter with $1.1 million cash on hand. Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart raised $481,558 and closed with $1.75 million.

Challenger Joe Garcia raised $531,049 to Mario Diaz-Balart’s $392,103, though Garcia, too, trails in cash on hand, $700,000 to Diaz-Balart’s $1 million.

And Annette Taddeo raised $324,829 — a sum that includes a personal loan — to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s $300,929. But Ros-Lehtinen has nearly $1.9 million on hand.

The sums come as the races are drawing increasing attention from the national parties: Martinez and Garcia have major backing from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is seeking to expand the party’s majority in the House.

And the Diaz-Balarts — who have faced only token opposition since first getting elected — are getting a similar boost from House Republicans.

Democrats sought to claim the momentum, even as Lincoln’s campaign treasurer said the campaign was ”exceeding all our fundraising goals.”

Carlos Curbelo, a spokesman for the Diaz-Balart brothers’ campaign, said the Democrats’ lead was not a surprise ”when you have powerful leaders of the extreme left like (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel pumping thousands of dollars into these campaigns.”

Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel are “powerful leaders of the extreme left”? Snort. Yeah, they’re so powerful they really went down fighting on FISA and war funding, then went out and had a shot and a beer with Michael Moore. Well, I suppose if you work for the Diaz-Balart brothers, anybody to the left of Attila the Hun is a flaming liberal. And if you have to make excuses for your candidate’s lackluster fund-raising, willful ignorance and hyperbole are part of the deal.