Party Elites Helping Insurgent Candidates in the Push to November

• In Florida, Republican Marco Rubio raised $4.5 million from April 1 through June 30, the biggest haul in the quarter for a candidate in an open Senate race. It included nearly $257,000 in donations from political committees, such as business PACs and the campaign committees of Republican leaders. In the previous three months, he reported $27,000 in contributions from such committees.

Among Rubio's PAC donations: $10,000 from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Its 300,000 members oppose federal regulation of their business and view Rubio as "the state's rights candidate in this election," said Nathan Riedel, who oversees political affairs for the group.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said the "heart and soul" of the campaign's fundraising remains grass-roots donors. But "as people have learned about him and what he stands for," Burgos said, "it's just natural people would come to recognize Marco as the only candidate who is prepared to go to Washington to be a check and balance."

This year, Rubio defied party leaders to mount a primary campaign against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist is now running as an independent.

Rubio was endorsed Friday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but he said support from the nation's biggest business group doesn't diminish his outsider credentials. "Folks are buying into our agenda," he said. "We're not buying into their agenda."

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