When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Keith Fitzgerald as one of its key candidates in its effort to re-take control of the House of Representatives, the onus was put on the candidate to show he was worthy of such a status -- and all the support from national Democrats that would come with it -- by among other things, remaining competitive financially with the man he was trying to knock off, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.
With less than four months before election day, Fitzgerald is still in the game, which is made clear when you examine the most recent finance reports filed by the respective campaigns.
Buchanan still holds a large bottom-line advantage -- more than $1.52 million in cash on hand, as of June 30, compared to Fitzgerald's $651,000 -- but the reports show that least among individuals willing to write checks, Fitzgerald is gaining ground.
Between April 1 and April 30, Fitzgerald received $296,434 from individual donors, compared to $245,094 going to Buchanan.
But for the entire campaign, Buchanan still holds an edge, raising more than $888,000 from individual donors, compared to almost $719,000 for Fitzgerald, who did not enter the race until October.
Where Buchanan remains far ahead is in contributions from political action and other similar committees. He has collected more than $866,000 from such groups, compared to about $178,000 for Fitzgerald.
Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, also has loaned his campaign $250,000, and has demonstrated he is willing to give more, depending on how much of the $4 million in television ad time his campaign has reserved it will actually use.
The DCCC has reserved $2.5 million in ad time in the Tampa Bay market, much of which will presumably be spent on behalf of Fitzgerald.
But that support comes with conditions that at least on the financial level, Fitzgerald may have already met.
To review the latest Federal Election Commission filings, go here.