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State certifies election with unofficial results from West-Murphy race

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Two weeks after the Nov. 6 election, Florida’s 2012 results are now official.

Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi this morning certified with special attention to St. Lucie County’s prolonged recount the nationally-watched U.S. House District 18 contest between tea party icon U.S. Rep. Allen West and newly-elected U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.

After lawsuits and recounts, West conceded this morning.

Scott and the two Cabinet members, acting as the state Election Canvassing Commission, were about to certify the results of the presidential, statewide and multi-county races as well as a few special elections, Secretary of State Ken Detzner told them.

“However, I bring to your attention that the St. Lucie County official returns were not received by the statutory deadline of noon, Nov. 18,” Detzner said. Florida law mandates that if a county’s returns are not received by the Department of State by the deadline, “the date filed returns shall be ignored and the results on file at that shall be certified by the department,” Detzner said.

“Therefore, the results before you reflect the unofficial returns filed from St. Lucie County at noon, Nov. 18,” he went on.

But a final recount, which ended in St. Lucie County on Sunday, did not change the results or give West enough of an edge to trigger an automatic recount, Detzner noted.

Murphy has led by less than 1 percent since election night. Final results Sunday from Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties gave the Democrat a lead over West of 1,904 votes or 0.58 percent.

“If St. Lucie County had timely submitted its retabulated returns, those returns would not have affected the ultimate outcome of any race and would not have placed any race within the margin of a recount,” he said.

Gov. Rick Scott, whose tea party support helped boost him to victory two years ago, said he was confident that Murphy is the winner.

“That’s what all the numbers show,” Scott said. Having to certify the unofficial results is disappointing, Scott said, “but it didn’t impact the election.”

UPDATE: Allen West calls Social Security ‘a form of slavery’

Monday, July 9th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Tea party firebrand U.S. Rep. Allen West likened Social Security to a “form of slavery” in an interview on Fox News this weekend.

West, running for a second term in Congress in the new Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast District 18, said the number of Americans going on Social Security disability is higher since 2009 than the number of new jobs created, blaming President Obama for “creating this sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery.”

West blamed the “liberal media” for misrepresenting his comments in a post on his Facebook page.

“Over the weekend I was on Fox & Friends discussing the growing number of Americans becoming dependent on government programs from food stamps to social security disability. Of course the liberal media is now putting words in mouth and saying I attacked Social Security. The fact is, I will work to protect Social Security and Medicare for our seniors and for future generations. It is too bad the media refuses to report on the failed economic policies of Washington liberals and the dependency culture career politicians are creating to expand their political power,” West said in the post.

West opted to run for the new district instead of seeking reelection to his newly redrawn District 22 seat where Democrats now have a 9-point edge. West’s race against Democrat Patrick Murphy is one of the most high-profile Congressional battles in the state.

Murphy’s campaign jumped on West’s Social Security-bashing, pointing out in a press release that residents over the age of 65 make up about 22 percent of District 18.

“Our seniors have worked their whole lives for a safety net that will allow them to retire with dignity, and Allen West is intent on doing anything he can to make it disappear,” Murphy’s campaign manager Anthony Kusich said.

A week ago, West accused President Obama of wanting to enslave Americans with government programs.

“He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave,” West told the crowd at a campaign event in Port St. Lucie.

Frankel scores big in quarterly fundraising

Monday, July 2nd, 2012 by Dara Kam

Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel nailed down $400,000 in this second quarter of fundraising for her congressional race, her campaign announced today.

That brings Frankel’s total contributions to a whopping $2.2 million and making her one of the country’s top-performing fundraisers, according to a press release issued by her campaign.

It’s the fifth quarter in a row in which Frankel raked in more than $300,000. Frankel’s the financial frontrunner District 22 Democratic primary pitting her against Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. The official campaign finance reports aren’t due to federal elections officials until July 15.

Frankel entered the District 22 race last year in a challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Allen West. But after state legislators redrew the Palm Beach-Broward district with a pronounced Democratic tilt, West opted to run for a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast district instead. Jacobs jumped in, setting up an all-female, Democratic duel.

Frankel’s press release boasting about her quarterly figures ignores the primary altogether and instead focuses on Republican District 22 candidate Adam Hasner.

“Our campaign continues to build a grassroots campaign based upon the idea of focusing on getting our economy working again. Over the next 5 months, Lois’ campaign will have the resources necessary to her message out in
Broward and Palm Beach Counties,” the release reads.

Also today, Frankel announced the endorsement of fellow Palm Beach County politico U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, while Jacobs announced the support of the SEIU labor union.

Kristin Jacobs challenges Lois Frankel to debates in U.S. House race

Monday, June 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A July 12 pre-primary debate planned by The Palm Beach Post and WPTV Channel 5 between Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel won’t happen because Frankel refused to participate.

But Jacobs, the underdog in the Democratic race for the U.S. House District 22 seat, is pressuring Frankel to change her mind.

Jacobs’ campaign manager Marcia Monserrat sent Frankel’s campaign chief Greg Richardson a letter today asking for four debates before the Aug. 14 primary. The winner of the Democratic race will face off against Republican Adam Hasner. The seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Allen West, was redrawn and is now a Democratic-leaning district that encompasses parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Jacobs is asking Frankel for two debates in each county.

Frankel, a former state representative who also served as the state House Democratic Leader, has been in the race longer and is sitting on a much fatter war chest. While she refused the invitation to debate on July 12, Frankel hasn’t ruled out another date before the primary election.

“It’s time for Democratic voters to see the candidates side-by-side and hear where we stand on the issues,” Jacobs said in a press release. “Voters deserve to know about the key differences between the candidates. That’s why I’m calling for a total of four debates, two in each county, so that people can hear from the candidates about the issues that matter most.”

Allen West draws wrath for comparing Democrats to Nazi propagandists

Friday, December 16th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Florida Democrats and Jewish groups expressed outrage over U.S. Rep. Allen West’s comments yesterday likening Democrats to Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels.

“This outrageous comparison is extreme, even for Congressman Allen West,” state Rep. Mark Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat who is Jewish, said in a statement issued by the Florida Democratic Party on Friday. “Likening Democrats to Nazis is despicable and offensive. Floridians deserve more from their elected officials than inflamed rhetoric that has brought Washington to a stand-still and left the middle class out-to-dry.”

Politco reported the blunt-speaking West’s comments yesterday:

Tea party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Thursday that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be “very proud” of Democrats for shifting public sentiment against Republicans, and he blamed the press for helping spread their message.

“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine,” West told reporters in the Capitol. “I think that you have, and let’s be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit in this, in enabling them to get that type of message out.”

No stranger to controversy, the freshman Republican whose district lies largely in Palm Beach County clarified that he wasn’t linking Democrats to the Nazi party and predicted the fall-out from his remarks.

Again, from Politico:

“I’m talking about propaganda, OK,” he said. “Don’t start taking my words and twisting it around. I’m talking about propaganda. And I think that’s a very important thing. When you tell me that everyone thinks that the only people on Capitol Hill are House Republicans, it’s because that’s what’s being portrayed, is that there’s nobody else up here.”

“Once again, you guys will take whatever I say and you will spin it to try to demonize me or demagogue me,” West added. “What I’m talking about is a person that was the minister of propaganda. And I’m talking about propaganda. So please. I’ll be prepared to wake up tomorrow and you guys make up some crazy story. Whatever.”

The Anti-Defamation League called West’s comments “outrageous” and demanded an apology in a letter to West Friday.

“Such outrageous Holocaust analogies have no place in our political dialogue. They are offensive, they trivialize real historical events, and they diminish the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a press release.

In his letter to West, Foxman – a Holocaust survivor – wrote: “It is high time to excise analogies to Nazi and Hitler from the political vocabulary. It doesn’t serve us as Americans, and cheapens our political discourse.”

It’s not the first time West provoked Jewish groups. In his campaign last year, West accused Democratic campaign trackers of using “Gestapo-like intimidation tactics.” (Read the ADL’s first demand for an apology on that here.)

The American Jewish Committee also slammed West on Friday.

“To make a linkage between any mainstream political party in the United States and the heinous atrocities committed by the Third Reich should be simply beyond the pale, whatever political differences may arise in a heated electoral season,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said.

Dems unleash robo-call attack on West

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 by Dara Kam

National Democrats launched an attack on U.S. Rep. Allen West today, blaming him for the failure of the Congressional “super committee” to reach a consensus and accusing the Plantation politician of “demanding more tax breaks for billionaires.”

Click here to listen to the robo-call.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unleashed the robo-calls today, and the campaign also includes live telephone calls, online ads and a website for voters to fill out letters to the editor today, according to a release issued by the DCCC. The calls are supposed to start going out to voters in West’s district that includes Palm Beach County today.

Democrats have targeted West in his reelection bid. The tea party favorite is being challenged by Democrat Patrick Murphy.

Here’s the script of the robo-call:

Hi, this is Rick calling on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calling about Congressman Allen West and Republicans forcing the Super Committee to fail.

Americans demanded a bipartisan, big, bold, and balanced plan to reduce the deficit and grow our economy – but that’s not what we got. The Super Committee failed because Republicans insisted on extending the Bush tax breaks for millionaires and refusing to include a jobs proposal – while ending the Medicare guarantee! That’s something that Democrats stand strongly against.

By rejecting a balanced approach, Republicans chose to protect the wealthiest one percent at the expense of seniors and the middle class. Now they’re even talking about raising the payroll tax.

Please call Congressman West at 561-655-1943 and tell him it’s time to focus on us.

UPDATE: FL Dems want to know – What have Republicans done for you lately?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Florida Republicans call the Dems new website “desperate.” This from Republican Party of Florida spokesman Brian Hughes: “With the most recent state reports showing RPOF outraised Florida Democrats by 5-to-1, it’s no surprise they are desperate to raise money. But this lame website demonstrates a level of desperation that is even worse than we thought possible. Instead of touting their anointed leaders, Barack Obama or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, they recycle ridiculous, cheap attacks. This tactic is more evidence why Floridians reject Democrats on Election Day.”

The Florida Democratic Party launched a new website today blaming Gov. Rick Scott and his fellow Republican lawmakers for the state’s dire economic straits.

The website accuses “Rickpublicans” of ethical lapses and causing teacher layoffs, among other things, and blasts Scott for “backsliding” on his campaign pledge to create 700,000 jobs over seven years as governor.

And the Dems remind viewers that Republicans have had a stranglehold on the state legisalture and governor’s mansion for more than a decade.

The site gives this definition of a “Rickpublican:”
1. Proper name for Florida Republicans wrought with greed and corruption who are hell-bent on selling out to the corporations and special interests while leaving Florida’s middle class families out-to-dry.

The Dems also use “Six Degrees of Separation” to link half a dozen GOP politicians – including Palm Beach County’s Adam Hanser and U.S. Rep. Allen West – to Scott, whose popularity among voters remains dim.

Occupy Palm Beach protests Allen West in the rain

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by Andrew Abramson

About 25 protesters calling themselves members of Occupy Palm Beach, 99 Percent or just citizens with a message, stood in the rain this morning as West spoke at a town hall at the Bethesda by the Sea Church in Palm Beach.

They chanted, “hey, hey, ho, ho, Allen West needs to go!” and rallied against “the war on the poor.”

Eddie Venero, who’s a member of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, drove up from Miami for the event.

“We’re trying to make it clear that programs like social security don’t add a penny to the deficit and shouldn’t be scapegoated for tax credits for the rich that don’t effectively create jobs,” Venero said.

Lisa Epstein, who helped organized the Occupy Lake Worth events, said West is trying to “delegitimize the movement” by saying it’s a bunch of kids who need to go to work.

“We’re not just a bunch of kids,” Epstein said. “We have a message.”

Most of the protesters this morning have been middle aged men and women, including a group of about four Hispanic protesters who chanted in Spanish about the need for jobs.

John Tracey, who said he was the event’s facilitator, said he was very pleased with the turnout.

“Even without rain this would have been a great turnout,” Tracey said. “It’s a Tuesday morning, and this isn’t a movement of unemployment people. This is a movement of taxpayers, and most of them have jobs and couldn’t be here.”

Tracey said that unlike the Tea Party protesters, “We have respect for decorum, and we are respectful when we ask questions (at the town hall). The other difference is funding. We are bottom-up, and we’re not sponsored by a media outlet.”

Tracey said there are also similarities with Tea Party movement. “When they first started it was about the bank bailouts, and we have some of the same questions we want addressed,” Tracey said.

Several drivers on the island honked in support, and one man drove by and flipped his middle finger at the protesters.

Police officers said the protest was lawful, although they wouldn’t allow a bullhorn because of a Palm Beach ordinance.

One officer told a valet driver that he was wishing for lightning to strike the protesters. The officer, who said he was eager to break up the protest, asked if there were any noise complaints.


West slams door on U.S. Senate run

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

U.S. Rep. Allen West has officially shut the door on a U.S. Senate run and will instead seek reelection to his current seat, West said in a statement issued today.

The outspoken West, a tea party idol from Plantation and the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus, recently made news when he called himself a modern-day Harriet Tubman during an interview with FoxNews’ Bill O’Reilly.

“Over the last several weeks, numerous leaders of the Florida Republican Party, including current and past elected officials, have spoken to me about the race for the United States Senate. Out of respect, I was willing to listen,” West said in the release.

“I have been given one of the highest honors to serve in the House of Representatives and I will continue to serve the citizens in that capacity. I will not seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012. With regard to my future, the only goal I have is to do my very best to represent the constituents of the Congressional District and to restore the exceptionalism of our nation.”

Last week, West told reporters the door was open “a crack” to the possibility that he would run, saying it would be disrespectful to supporters to “slam the door in their face.”

Democrat challenges ‘right wing extremist’ West

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Ft. Lauderdale businessman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, is running against U.S. Rep. Allen West, a tea party favorite who unseated U.S. Rep. Ron Klein in November.

“I love my country. I love South Florida. I’m not going to stand by while right wing extremists like Allen West divide us,” Murphy, vice president of Coastal Environmental Services, said in a press release today announcing his candidacy for District 22, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

National Democrats have targeted West in next year’s elections.

“South Florida simply deserves better than what it’s now getting out of Washington. If we’re going to actually create jobs and protect families, we need representation that isn’t looking backwards,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s company specializes in disaster relief and environmental cleanup, and last year, the native Floridian spent six months in the Gulf of Mexico doing clean-up work after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. West, who lives in Plantation, supports offshore oil drilling.

Sierra Club funds ad attacking West over drilling and choosing Klein

Monday, October 25th, 2010 by John Lantigua

The Sierra Club has pumped $800, 000 into last minute television ads for three Democratic Party Congressional campaigns around the country and one of them is the District 22 race in South Florida.

“With ‘Big Oil’ doing everything they can to try to buy back Congress, today the Sierra Club launched three new television ads in key congressional races – Michigan’s 7th District, Arizona’s 8th District, and Florida’s 22nd District,” said a press release by the environmental group.

In District 22, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein,D-BocaRaton, is locked in a tight race with GOP contender Allen West.

The ad being screened in South Florida pictures smoke spewing from British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded April 20 and was finally plugged Sept. 9, not before dumping millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The ad also shows a pelican covered in oil and then superimposes West next to an offshore oil rig.

“For five months BP spewed oil into the gulf – polluting Florida beaches and devastating our economy,” says the narrator. “ But Allen West still supports drilling for oil off the Florida coast. And West says he ‘sees nothing about the situation in the Gulf that will change his mind’”

“No wonder West received thousands in contributions from oil companies,” continues the ad. “Ron Klein has a better way – protect our beaches and develop alternative energy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Ron Klein for Congress.”

The Klein/West race is believed to be the most heavily financed Congressional contest in the nation.

Allen West comes out for kids, flag, Constitution in first TV spot

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by George Bennett

The morning after winning his Republican primary — and drawing an attack ad from incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton — Allen West releases his first 30-second TV spot, an upbeat message featuring kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

West campaign manager Josh Grodin says he’s still rounding up documents that will show a 2005 IRS lien against West in Indiana, the centerpiece of Klein’s ad, was a mistake that the IRS corrected.

Klein starts general election with attack ad against West; West camp says Klein ‘flat-out lied’

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 by George Bennett

None of that feel-good introductory stuff for U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, as he begins his general election race against Republican challenger Allen West.

With the polls barely closed from today’s primaries, the Klein campaign tonight is launching the first ad of the fall campaign — a 30-second spot slamming West for some financial issues originally reported here plus a claim that West had an $11,000 IRS lien filed against him in Marion County, Ind.

West campaign manager Josh Grodin says he’ll provide proof Wednesday that the document cited in the Klein ad is not valid.

Says Grodin: “It’s sad that Klein has chosen to play politics as usual at a time when our country needs principled leadership – especially considering the fact that he flat out lied about Allen ever having an IRS lien in Marion County. Let me say this again. Allen West, and his wife Dr. Angela M. Graham-West have never resided, nor owned property in Marion County, IN, and there was never a valid IRS lien placed upon them. Since Ron Klein approved this message, then Ron Klein owes the West family a formal public apology for this outrageous lie in his first campaign ad in 2010.”

Allen West to oppo videographers: ‘Come up to the front…I want you to clearly hear what I have to say’

Sunday, August 15th, 2010 by George Bennett

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s campaign has launched a new YouTube channel featuring videos of Republican challenger Allen West. The Klein camp contends the videos will show the conservative West is too “radical” and “extreme” for the swing-voter sensibilities of Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 22.

West says he has nothing to hide. In fact, in the above video, taped March 8 and posted by Klein’s campaign last week, here’s what West says around the 6:15 mark:

“Now I don’t know if we got some Ron Klein supporters here that are trying to tape me or if we have some people that are going to try and bring something against me later on. If so, please come up to the front. Because I want you to clearly hear what I have to say. I am not afraid of saying it…”

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Here, by the way, is the double-platinum YouTube video of West that has helped him raise nearly $3.5 million since last October while Klein has raised just under $1.5 million during the same period.

West beats Klein nearly 4-to-1 in latest money report

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 by George Bennett

The Federal Election Commission reports are in for the July 1-Aug. 4 money dash and Republican challenger Allen West’s $530,806 in receipts topped incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Klein’s $142,704.

Klein spokeswoman Sarah Rothschild noted that Klein holds a “significant” advantage in cash on hand: $2.84 million to $2.25 million. But Klein’s overall money edge is getting less significant with each reporting period. Last October, Klein had nearly $2.2 million in the bank to West’s $247,416.

West continues to spend heavily. He disbursed $462,717 during the last five-week period, much of it on a direct-mail campaign.

Another interesting West number: more than half of his latest receipts — $298,969 — came from contributors giving less than $200. Those are prime prospects for West to hit up again over the next two months. Klein got $6,519 from the under-$200 crowd.

Another big money-raising report for Allen West

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 by George Bennett

Republican congressional candidate Allen West raised more than $532,000 from July 1 to Aug. 4, his campaign manager Josh Grodin said this afternoon. That five-week figure — more than Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein during the last three-month reporting period — should keep West among the top congressional money-raisers in the nation.

Because Florida has an Aug. 24 primary, the latest round of Federal Election Commission finance reports are due by midnight tonight. Klein hasn’t filed his report yet. Klein raised an impressive $511,150 from April 1 to June 30, but West raised $1.4 million during that quarter.

Allen West on Leonidas at Thermopylae and his Post-endorsed GOP primary rival

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 by George Bennett

From Marathon to the Battle of Tours to Gettysburg to the Battle of the Bulge, one often gets a synopsis of military history when Republican congressional hopeful Allen West speaks. Here West, aiming to knock off Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein in November, mentions Leonidas “at that gap in Thermopylae” in the 5th century B.C. offering his legendary “come-and-get-them” challenge to the Persians who demanded the Greeks’ weapons.



Later, West also mentions The Palm Beach Post editorial page’s recent endorsement of his unknown rival in the Aug. 24 Republican primary and (around the 6:15 mark) says, “I have every intention of making The Palm Beach Post pay for endorsing David Brady.”

PostOnPolitics, which is not connected to the editorial page or the paper’s endorsement decisions, asked West to elaborate. West, in an e-mail, explained that “…bottom line about PB Post paying for Brady endorsement, we are going to win. The best revenge is always success.”

Saying foes want to ‘distort’ his record, Allen West releases video on 2003 Iraq gun incident

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 by George Bennett

UPDATED with reaction from Klein’s campaign at end…

Saying he expects U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, to try to “distort and falsify my service in Iraq,” Republican challenger Allen West this morning released a video giving his side of the 2003 incident that led him to leave the U.S. Army.

As a battalion commander, Lt. Col. West supervised the interrogation of an Iraqi police officer suspected of having information about an assassination plot against West. West fired a pistol near the man’s head to get him to talk. After a military hearing, he was fined $5,000 and allowed to retire with a full pension.

Here’s one news account of the incident from 2003.

In the video, West says his actions were intended to protect the troops under his command.

“If it’s about the safety and the lives of my men…I would go through hell with a gasoline can,” West says in the video, essentially repeating what he said at his 2003 hearing.

Klein spokeswoman Sarah Rothschild offered this response: “Congressman Klein’s campaign has never made Allen West’s service or record an issue in this campaign. It is Allen West, who apparently is raising the circumstances regarding his retirement from the military, as an issue. Congressman Klein plans on campaigning on his record of fighting for South Florida and we would assume that Allen West will run on his record.”

Facing West challenge, Klein tells Dems it’s ‘an all-hands-on-deck moment for all of us’

Monday, July 19th, 2010 by George Bennett



Facing a tough and well-financed challenge from Republican Allen West and a difficult national climate for Dems, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, sought to put a jolt in Democratic activists Saturday.

He mentioned Sarah Palin three times, the tea party movement three times and threw in a reference to the 1994 midterm elections, when there was a second-year Democrat in the White House and voters booted Dems from control of the House and Senate.

“We cannot afford to repeat what happened in 1994,” Klein told the crowd of 1,300 at the Florida Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for all of us.”

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Cash on hand: Klein No. 1 nationally among House candidates, Crist No. 4 among Senate hopefuls

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 by George Bennett

Check out this searchable ‘n’ sortable Washington Post table on money-raising for key congressional and Senate races around the U.S.

U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, has the most available cash to spend of any congressional candidate with $2.9 million, edging a largely self-financed Ohio car dealer and Republican, Tom Ganley, who has $2.7 million. Klein’s Republican challenger, Allen West, ranks fifth in the nation with $2.2 million cash on hand.

West’s $1.4 million raised in the second quarter was the second-highest total for any congressional candidate in the nation, trailing only the $1.7 million taken in by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Among Senate candidates, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s $8.2 million in cash on hand is the fourth-highest total in the U.S. California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is tops at $11.3 million. Republican Marco Rubio had the second-best money quarter of any Senate candidate in the nation. His $4.5 million haul was surpassed only by Boxer’s $4.6 million.

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