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December 05, 2008

Senate fundraising clues

Members of Congress filed their campaign finance reports last night. At first glance, here are some of the more notable and newsworthy figures:

Pennsylvania Senate: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) may be interested in the Pennsylvania Senate race, but he won’t be able to claim he has a financial edge over potential opponents. Murphy spent most of his campaign cash in the final weeks of his reelection, and now only has $238,000 cash on hand.

Compare that to two other potential candidates: Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), has over $2 million in her campaign account. And despite facing a somewhat competitive campaign, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) hardly spent any money on it and now has stashed over $3 million cash on hand. 

Sestak now says he's not running for the Senate, but his prolific fundraising efforts combined with meager spending suggests he's thinking about statewide office at some point.

Florida Senate.  Several members of Congress have expressed serious interest in running for Mel Martinez's Senate seat in 2010. On the Democratic side, Reps. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) have lots of cash for a statewide race.  Klein reported $1.7 million cash on hand, while Boyd has $1.2 million to spend.

Among potential Republican candidates, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla) has $530,000 in his campaign account while Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) has $296,000. Of course, this will all be irrelevant if Jeb Bush decides to jump in the race.

Kentucky Senate.  There has been some scuttlebutt that Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) may seek to challenge Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) in 2010.  But if that's the case, he hasn't yet amped up his fundraising for a challenge. While Chandler has a healthy $1.1 million on hand, he only raised $55,000 during the last fundraising period (from Oct. 16 to Nov. 24).

Tom Feeney.  Ousted GOP Rep. Tom Feeney appears to have focused on other priorities than his own reelection in the campaign's final weeks. He still has $239,000 cash on hand left in his account, which he can spend on legal expenses. He may need the extra money to defend himself  from a federal investigation stemming from his Scotland golf trip with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.