By Jim Turner (Contact)
Originally published 04:05 p.m., July 16, 2008
Updated 04:05 p.m., July 16, 2008

Doubling his personal contribution to $500,000, former Palm Beach Gardens Council member Hal Valeche has started the second quarter with the most cash on hand among three Republicans seeking to unseat Congressman Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, from Florida’s 16th District in Congress.

At the same time, Tom Rooney, an attorney from Tequesta, picked up $90,278 in the quarter, raising the most from outside sources since the campaign began.

“Tom has by far raised the most money and from the most donors throughout the campaign,” said Jeff Ostermayer, Rooney’s communications director. “The numbers speak for themselves.”

Meanwhile, state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, is boasting that she raised the most from individual voters during the quarter, $98,345.

“You can’t erase enough folks who are giving $5, $10, $25 checks,” said Harrell’s campaign manager Anthony Bonna. “If our opponent (Valeche) had that level of support he wouldn’t have to put in that amount of his own money.”

Valeche spokesman Bryan Rudnick said the numbers indicate that Rooney “is not the fundraising machine everyone thinks he is.” Rudnick also questioned whether Harrell, with $240,081 on hand to start the quarter, would be able to sustain a campaign through the Aug. 26