Miami Congressional challengers again outraise incumbents

Miami HeraldOctober 17, 2008 

The Democrats giving Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart their biggest reelection challenges have again outraised the incumbents, though both Republicans have an edge in cash-on-hand for the congressional campaign's closing weeks.

Campaign finance reports filed late Wednesday show challenger Joe Garcia outraising Mario Diaz-Balart $384,568 to $370,224 for the fundraising period that ended Sept. 30. Diaz-Balart, though, finished the period with $1.1 million in the bank to Garcia's $373,047.

Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez narrowly edged Lincoln Diaz-Balart, raising $331,214 to Diaz-Balart's $321,145. But they remain competitive in cash on hand, with Diaz-Balart at $1.7 million and Martinez with $1.1 million.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen outraised her Democratic challenger, pulling in $211,594 to Annette Taddeo's $197,676. She also maintains a considerable lead over Taddeo in cash for the final weeks, with $1.1 million to spend, compared to $110,792 for Taddeo.

A number of polls suggest increasingly competitive races for Garcia and Martinez, and the prospect of the seats turning over has sparked national interest: The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is running ads bashing Martinez and contributed to both Republicans campaigns.

Garcia and Martinez also have benefited from contributions from Democratic party leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

And despite the cash-at-hand disadvantage for the Democrats, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $1.5 million in ads in the Miami market for the last two weeks of the race.

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