tampabay.com

Latest report shows Harris far behind in funds raised

By WES ALLISON
Published October 18, 2006


WASHINGTON - In Florida's Senate race, the battle for money is about as lopsided as the results of recent polls.

In the last six-week fundraising period, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, raised more than three times as much money as his Republican opponent, Rep. Katherine Harris.

Nelson posted receipts of $1.2-million for Aug. 17 to Sept. 30, compared with $364,000 for Harris, federal campaign finance records released this week show.

Nelson has $6.8-million on hand, compared with just under $1-million for Harris.

Numerous polls show Nelson with a commanding lead. And barring a dramatic uptick in contributions or a sudden infusion of her own fortune, the numbers mean Harris won't have the money to run statewide TV ads before the Nov. 7 election.

A week's worth of TV ads in Florida costs almost $2-million, and a good air campaign is virtually imperative for candidates in a state so large and diverse. Harris could go on the air in some selected markets, however.

Campaign finance records show that Nelson spent $6.2-million in the last six weeks alone, mostly for TV ads. He also gave $250,000 to the Florida Democratic Party.

Harris spent $1.6-million. She has aired no radio or TV ads since before the Sept. 5 primary, and she isn't included in Republican Party ads running for other top GOP candidates.