Allen West raises nearly $2 million in first quarter

Florida Rep. Allen West (R) raised $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2012, according to documents filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

“The fact that 97 percent of our contributions came from individual contributors, instead of Washington lobbyists and special interests, is a sign Americans want a strong constitutional conservative in the House that is willing to stand for the principles that made America great, regardless of the critics,” West said in a statement.

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The West campaign reported $3.3 million in cash on hand. West’s challenger, Democrat Patrick Murphy, raised only $350,000 in the first quarter, but has about $1 million in the bank.

“Thanks to the generous financial support we have across the 18th District, Florida and the nation, we have the resources to continue advocating for policies to get our economy back on track by getting government out of the way and out of the pockets of hard working tax payers, return our nation to a fiscally responsible course, develop domestic energy resources to lower gas prices and move toward energy security, and continue to ensure we have the defense capabilities to meet future strategic challenges," West's statement continued.

West, an outspoken freshman conservative and Tea Party favorite, has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate for Mitt Romney, but his propensity to court controversy could keep him off the Republican ticket.

Last week, West said he heard that almost half of all the Democrats in Congress are secretly part of the Communist Party. He offered no names or proof of his accusation.