By Karissa Marcum - 04/25/06 12:00 AM EDT
Hurricane Katrina battered the 3rd District, just downriver from New Orleans, and so far the race for the congressional seat appears as uncertain as the future of the city itself.
However, Louisiana state Sen. Craig Romero, the Republican candidate, has a reason to celebrate. Romero raised more campaign cash in the first quarter than the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Charlie Melancon.
With the exception of the rematch race in Georgia between Democratic Rep. John Barrow and his Republican challenger, former Rep. Max Burns, Romero has more cash on hand than any other challenger facing a freshman member, and 99 percent of the $750,000 Romero has raised has come from individual contributions.
Although Romero reported having $600,000 on hand, he still faces an uphill battle. Melancon has more than $1 million in his war chest.
Melancon competed in a runoff in 2004 after winning 24 percent of the vote in the first match-up. He went on to win the seat. Romero, who also competed in the first general election, garnered just 23 percent of the vote, not enough to participate in the runoff.
Until Melancon was elected, the district was solidly Republican; the district gave 58 percent of its votes to President Bush in 2004.