Great Debate

The first debate between Barney Frank and Sean Bielat will be held on the Tom & Todd Show on WRKO at 7am on October 11.

Sean Bielat's campaign raised more money over the last month than the Massachusetts Republican Congressional candidate had received in the first 20 months of this cycle combined.

It doesn't hurt that Bielat's opponent is Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the conservative posterchild for the nation's financial woes.

The two sides reached agreement Friday on the debate as the race in the 4th congressional district of Massachusetts starts to heat up.

Fueled by a host of recent media appearances on Fox News, among other national outlets, Bielat disclosed Friday that he raised roughly $400,000 since Aug. 25 and had that same amount, $400,000, on hand at the end of September.

Through Aug. 25. Bielat, a Marine and local businessman, had taken in less than $232,000 for the entire cycle and reported only $84,000 on hand.

While everyone knows that anything can happen this year, few would have guessed that Barney's reelection bid would have been a competetive one.

Frank, meanwhile, reported more than $1 million on hand at the end of August. And that was before former President Bill Clinton visited the southeastern Massachusetts district to stump for him, an event that was not a fundraiser and actually cost the campaign money.

There's little doubt that the GOP is trying to build momentum for this political novice, who many believe has little chance of knocking off a powerful incumbent in an overwhelmingly blue district. (President Barack Obama won here by 28 points in the 2008 presidential election.)

The National Republican Congressional Committee this week elevated Bielat to "On the Radar" status as part of its Young Guns program. The promotion was released the same day that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney endorsed Bielat.

And less than two weeks ago, the Bielat campaign released an internal poll that showed Bielat trailing the 15-term Congressman by just 10 points.

The fundraising boost should ensure that Bielat can purchase at least some television time in the expensive Boston or Providence, R.I. markets in the final week or two of the campaign. Barlow said decisions about specific media strategy would be made next week.

Tune in on October 11.