Keith Fitzgerald says his campaign raised almost $300,000 in contributions during the first three months of 2012, an indication that the race for the local seat in Congress will -- at least financially -- be competitive.
Fitzgerald's announcement comes after Rep. Vern Buchanan's campaign this week told supporters he had raised more than $484,000 during the same period.
Fitzgerald, who officially entered the race in October, ended the quarter with more than $422,000 in the bank. Buchanan had $1.47 million in cash on hand, according to his campaign.
The campaigns have until Sunday to file their latest campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission, and as of Friday morning the updated filings had not shown up on the FEC's website.
In total, Fitzgerald has raised more than $520,000 for his campaign, as of March 31. Buchanan, who was first elected to Congress in 2006, has raised more than $1.7 million.
Fitzgerald's fund-raising prowess has been key in his ability to draw support from the national Democratic Party, which has identified the race for the 13th Congressional District as key to its efforts to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Already, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has promised Fitzgerald fund-raising and other support for his campaign.
In the most recent quarter, Fitzgerald's campaign said it received more than 1,500 individual contributions during the first quarter, averaging $136 each.
“I'm humbled to have the support of so many hardworking Floridians and seniors who simply want a representative willing to fight to protect Medicare, stand up for the middle-class and hold Congress accountable for how our tax dollars are spent," Fitzgerald said in a statement.