Rob Zerban's first campaign finance report, filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission, shows he raised more money and has more cash on hand than any previous Ryan challenger had for the entire election cycle. The 2012 election is 16 months away.
Good news, but here's the rub: Ryan raised almost $900,000 in the last quarter and has $3.8-million on hand, since he's been steadily amassing it and has had to spend little in previous campaigns.
Since he first ran for Congress in 1998, Ryan has raised more than $5-million from special interest PACS -- 38% of all the money he's raised.
Money isn't everything in politics, they say, but it's way ahead of whatever is in second place. If Zerban, who's off to a good start, is going to have a real chance against Ryan, he doesn't need to match him dollar for dollar, but he does need to raise enough to get his message out on television and to be competitive.