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GOP Target Boucher Banks Almost $2 Million

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), whom Republicans are targeting for defeat this year, has almost $2 million on hand for his re-election campaign — the most he has ever had in the bank at this point in an election cycle.

Boucher, who is seeking a 15th term, raised $317,000 in the first three months of this year and began April with $1.96 million, according to a source close to his campaign. Boucher’s campaign will file a detailed report to the Federal Election Commission by the deadline Thursday.

Boucher, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is among the House’s most prolific fundraisers. He had $1.4 million in his account at the end of March 2008 and $949,000 in the bank at the end of March 2006. But this is the first time in several election cycles that he has a highly competitive race on his hands.

Boucher’s likely Republican opponent, state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, said earlier this week that he raised $104,000 for his campaign in the final two weeks of March. Griffith formed a campaign committee in late February, but he didn’t begin fundraising until after the state Legislature adjourned in mid-March.

Republicans are targeting Boucher in part because his southwestern Virginia district has a strong conservative lean on cultural issues and also because of his vote last year for a climate change bill that included a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

But Democrats have expressed confidence Boucher will be re-elected, in part because of his longtime focus on economic development projects in his mostly rural district. Boucher has won nearly all of his re-election campaigns by overwhelming margins. He was unopposed in the 2008 election.

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