Florida Republicans can anticipate a well-funded, hotly contested primary race for U.S. Senate in 2010. Governor Charlie Crist announced on October 8, 2009 that his Senate campaign had raised $2.4 million in the quarter ended September 30, 2009. The governor's fundraising during the quarter was substantial, even if it did not match the pace of Gov. Crist's first 50 days as a candidate, when he raised $4.4 million. Currently, Gov. Crist's campaign has approximately $6.2 million in cash on hand.
Third-quarter fundraising also pointed to the viability of the candidacy of Gov. Crist's main primary opponent, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami). On October 6, 2009, Mr. Rubio announced that his campaign had raised nearly $1 million from July through September, almost tripling his second-quarter fundraising results. Mr. Rubio also has recently been the subject of favorable articles from conservative columnists and magazines and has received support from national conservative political figures.
Official fundraising data will be available by October 15, 2009, when federal candidates are required to file their third-quarter financial reports.
The Democratic U.S. Senate primary race received another entrant on October 7, 2009, when former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre announced his candidacy. Mr. Ferre served as mayor of the city from 1973 through 1985 and also has been a member of the Dade County Commission, the Miami City Commission, and the Florida House of Representatives.
The leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat is U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17th Congressional District). Rep. Meek has not announced his third-quarter fundraising, but his campaign had raised $2.7 million through June 30, 2009.