Democrat Bob Poe has lent his congressional campaign $1.2 million of his own money, jumpstarting it into what likely will be a big campaign finance lead over other candidates in Orlando-based Congressional District 10.

The wealthy Orlando entrepreneur and former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party announced Tuesday that his self-funding effort gives him more than $1.25 million on hand for the end of the first quarter of 2016, more than the other three Democratic candidates combined.

Poe only entered the race in January. Among his opponents is former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, who entered the race in August and has wrapped up most of the national congressional endorsements. When Poe entered the race he said he would match contributions to his campaign. With the early loans, he has moved that money up to the front, giving him an early war chest.

“Bob Poe has made this race highly competitive and he will deliver his message to the voters of the 10th District,” his campaign manager Joshua Romero stated in a news release Tuesday. “Bob is challenging the status quo. He cannot be bought, and he’ll be able to take on the special interest.”

In addition to Poe and Demings, the CD 10 race includes Democrats state Sen. Geraldine Thompson and Fatima Rita Fahmy. There are no Republicans filed to run in the district, which covers most of west Orlando and west Orange County. Since the district was redrawn this fall, making it heavily Democratic, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Webster of Winter Garden decided to move to Congressional District 11.

In addition to his own money, made in loans to his campaign, Poe has raised more than $130,000 in individual contributions, his campaign announced.

“Growing up in the district is what gave me the foundation that led to the success I have experienced in my life. My success will always be directly connected to this district,” Poe stated in the release.. “As a Democrat not beholden to anyone, I will be a bold and unapologetic voice for our community. And because I don’t have to rely on special interest contributions, my only special interest will be the people of the 10th Congressional District. I’ll take on the NRA on common sense gun safety policies to make our streets safer. And I can bring my business experience to the table and make the credible argument that the wealthiest in America must pay their fair share.”

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