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This is a big day for Haridopolos, Hasner and LeMieux

 If you are a Republican, especially a Florida Republican, you probably got an email this week begging for money.

Today is the final day for Florida's U.S. Senate candidates to raise money before they have to file contribution reports next month.  In a feverish effort to push up their numbers, they spend the final days before the deadline doing little more than asking for cash.

When the reports are filed on July 15th, it will be the first serious test of the fundraising ability of Florida's three, Republican U.S. Senate candidates, Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux.

Florida is all about cash. You can't win without boatloads of it. This is a state where it costs more than $1.5 million for just one week of television ads. Toss in direct mail, phone banks, polling, staff, radio ads, robo-calls, and all the other stuff of a campaign and, well, it gets expensive fast.

So while we would like to think that voters decide elections, the fact is that campaign contributions decide elections first. Many a decent candidate for statewide office has fallen by the wayside because they were unable to raise enough money to compete.

And cash breeds cash. Candidates who raise a lot of money early in a campaign tend to be attractive to the big fundraisers who like to hook up with a winner.

Cash raised also become a measure for the media. If a candidate is doing poorly compared to his opponents, media attention can drift away - making it even harder for that candidate to raise money.

Now there is another equation that is even more important - cash on hand. Every election there is the candidate who raises tons of money but spends it as quickly as he raises it. Then in the final weeks of the election, they have so little dough their campaign grinds to a halt at the critical moment.

A candidate who burns through his cash too quickly will usually lose to a candidate who raises less money buts use it more strategically.

So today is a big day. We will know the results in a couple of weeks. If the three candidates are on par, they will slug out the cash war for another three months. But if one of them is far behind the others - consider it a sign that the candidate is already in trouble.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Art by West Palm Beach artist Patrick Crowley


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