With a whopping $550,000 hauled in his first three months in office, Miami-Dade Democrat Joe Garcia signaled he’s a top freshmen fundraiser in Congress.
And the money, the lifeblood of campaigns, sends a message to Republicans: He won’t be easy to beat in 2014.
Garcia’s self-reported fundraising totals rival that of fellow Democratic freshman Patrick Murphy of Jupiter who also said he raised $550,000. But Murphy’s far more vulnerable.
Both Florida freshmen are considered at-risk, even by Democrats. They’re on the frontlines of the battle for the U.S. House – and therefore President Obama’s agenda. Just 16 Republicans stand in the way of Democrats controlling the House and all of Congress.
“My job is not to worry about people’s political perceptions. My job is to represent the people,” said Garcia, who bested a scandal-plagued Rep. David Rivera by nearly 11 percentage points in November.
Republicans say they won’t let Garcia rest.
They say they need the right candidate and the absence of the Obama voter-turnout machine to beat the Democrat. Florida Republicans tend to fare better than Democrats during non-presidential election years.