EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is building a formidable war chest as he gathers resources for what will likely be a bruising reelection campaign in the 2022 midterms.
The two-term Republican senator hauled in $6 million in fundraising during the July-September third quarter of fundraising, according to figures shared first with Fox News on Wednesday.
2022 SENATE SHOWDOWN IN FLORIDA COULD BECOME MOST EXPENSIVE IN HISTORY
Rubio’s fundraising the past three months is an increase from the $4 million he brought in during the April-June second quarter, and brings to nearly $12 million the amount he’s raised so far this year for this 2022 reelection campaign.
Rubio, who was first elected to the Senate in the 2010 Tea Party wave and who grabbed plenty of national attention during his unsuccessful 2016 GOP presidential nomination bid, also reported an impressive $9.6 million cash on hand in his campaign coffers as of the beginning of October.
The senator’s campaign noted that Rubio’s third quarter haul is nearly double what any GOP senator up for reelection raised during the third quarter of 2019, the comparable quarter in the 2020 cycle.
Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who made history as Orlando’s first female police chief before entering politics, is the leading Democratic candidate aiming the challenge Rubio next year. Demings, who has yet to announce her third quarter numbers, hauled in $4.6 million in the first three weeks of her campaign, from her launch in early June through the end of the second quarter. Candidates running for federal offices have until Oct. 15 to file their third-quarter reports with the Federal Election Commission.
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The burgeoning Florida Senate battle – which could be one of the handful of crucial contests to decide which party controls the chamber – is taking place in a state with nearly 22 million people spread out over 10 media markets.
“Both parties are going to invest heavily in Florida,” University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald told Fox News earlier this year. “It could be one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in history given the trajectory that we’ve seen in increasing amount of money flowing into elections.”
The total price tag – campaign and outside spending – for Rubio’s 2016 reelection victory over then-Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy was nearly $110 million, a huge sum at the time.
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But the Sunshine State’s 2018 Senate race, when then-Republican Gov. Rick Scott edged out incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, was nearly double the cost, with roughly $205 million spent by the candidates, parties and outside groups.
That race was the most expensive in history, until last year when spending in the Senate race in North Carolina topped $280 million, smashing the Florida record.