Gwen Graham holds $1 million cash on hand

Gwen Graham, a top Democratic congressional recruit in Florida, raised nearly half a million dollars in the fourth quarter in her race to unseat Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.).

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Graham raised $474,000 in the fourth quarter and has $1.049 million cash on hand. The Democratic challenger has raised $1.3 million since entering the race for Florida's 2nd District last April.  

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tapped Graham as a top recruit last year. She was one of the first seven candidates named to the Jumpstart program, which helps promising Democratic candidates with organizational and financial support. Former Florida Gov. Bob Graham (D) is her father. 

She is attempting to dethrone Southerland, who won a close reelection in 2012 with 52 percent of the vote against Democrat Al Lawson. Mitt Romney won the district with about the same percentage as Southerland in that year’s presidential election. 

Southerland has not released his fourth-quarter numbers, but he had about $650,000 after the last filing. 

Graham faces an uncontested path to the general election, as Lawson — who has challenged Southerland in the last two election cycles — declined to enter the Democratic primary again. 

Graham said her fundraising totals are a sign her message is resonating with voters in Florida’s 2nd District. 

“As our campaign continues to gain momentum, it’s becoming clear that north Florida families are hungry for new leadership who will focus on bringing folks together to find bipartisan, commonsense solutions to the challenges that matter most in order to break the gridlock in Washington,” she said in a statement.