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Florida: Brown Raises $445,000 as She Mulls Senate Bid

Rep. Corrine Brown (D) said Wednesday that she raised $445,000 during the third quarter, including nearly $268,000 for her Congressional committee and $178,000 for her Senate exploratory committee.

All the money raised in both accounts could be used to fund a Senate bid if she decides to formalize her candidacy.

“I know the big-money special interests are lining up behind [Gov.] Charlie Crist, but they can’t vote in Florida,— Brown said in a statement, seeming to overlook the fact that she would have to beat fellow Rep. Kendrick Meek in the primary before facing Crist in the general election.

Ronnie Simmons, Brown’s chief of staff, said the Congresswoman plans to keep the committee in an exploratory phase until the end of the year, at which point she will make a final decision about the race.

Brown announced in late May that she was considering throwing her hat into the 2010 Senate race.

Brown’s third-quarter disclosure comes on the same day that former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre announced that he was joining the list of Democrats seeking the Senate nomination.

Ferre, who is Puerto Rican, is hoping to appeal to the Sunshine State’s large Hispanic population. But it is uncertain if Ferre, who is 74 and has not been in public office for over a decade, will be able to amass the resources necessary to compete in an expensive statewide race.

Meek ended June with $2.3 million in cash on hand and is the establishment choice in state and national Democratic circles.

On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) will host a $1,000-per-head reception for Meek in Washington, D.C.

The Republican Senate primary pits the popular Crist against former state Speaker Marco Rubio. The more moderate Crist is the frontrunner in that contest, but Rubio announced this week that he raised nearly $1 million last quarter — another signal that his challenge from the right is a viable one.

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