WASHINGTON (CNN) – Even in a slumping economy, Charlie Crist is justifying his reputation as a master fundraiser.
The Florida governor raised an average of $86,000 a day since jumping into the race for Mel Martinez's Senate seat in May, his campaign reported Thursday.
Crist collected $4.3 million in donations in the second fundraising quarter of 2009, despite entering the race on May 12 - 41 days into the quarter.
He has so far raised nearly 13 times as much as his Republican primary rival Marco Rubio, who announced last week that his campaign has raised $340,000.
Though Rubio was never expected to be able to match Crist dollar-for-dollar in the money chase, that cash deficit will likely be thrown into stark relief once Crist starts airing television and radio ads throughout the state.
Rubio's campaign responded by painting Crist as a big-spending liberal.
"Charlie Crist will need to spend every last cent trying to convince voters that his support for wasteful stimulus spending, cap-and-trade schemes, tax increases and liberal judges are acceptable Republican practices," said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos.
The cash haul is yet another show of political muscle from the Crist campaign, which has trotted out endorsements from prominent Senate leaders in Washington like Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Mel Martinez, who is vacating the seat now being pursued by Crist.
Earlier this week, Crist nabbed a pair of endorsements in Rubio's backyard when he landed the backing of two Cuban-American GOP congressmen from South Florida - Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart.
Lifelong Republican in Florida voting for Rubio. Crist is another Arlen Specter.
No surprise on the $$. Crist is bought and paid for by special interests, particularly developers. In Florida greedy developers.
Don't totally discount Rubio's chances though. We'lll see how Charlie the Obama Hugger stands on additional "stimulus" packages where Obama is going to spend much more $$ than he has.
Feel a hand in your pocket America? If not yet you are going to. If you pay taxes Obama is coming to get more and it won't matter what you make, he is going to take more of it.
Acting like this, Crist should switch and become a Democrat.