As The Denver Post reports today, Colorado’s candidates for U.S. Senate will report vastly different results from the Q4 fundraising period:
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet raised more than $1.1 million last quarter, nearly 3 1/2 times more than his Democratic opponent, Andrew Romanoff.
On the Republican side for the U.S. Senate seat, Jane Norton collected more than $550,000.
The campaign for Tom Wiens, the newest Republican candidate for the Senate, said it raised more than $725,000 but declined to give any details or say how much of the money came from the candidate…
…On the Republican side, Norton’s donations last quarter were nearly 14 times more than those of Ken Buck, whose campaign netted about $40,000, according to federal filings…
…Wiens’ campaign did not elaborate on the $725,000 besides saying it had about $550,000 on hand. Detailed contribution records for the period are not yet available.
“Those are the only two figures I have,” said campaign spokesman John Ransom.
Walt Klein, adviser to Buck’s campaign, said the low totals were the result of the splash Norton made when she entered the race last fall.
“It was a disappointment but not one that was unexpected,” Klein said. The campaign has more than $276,000 on hand.
Wiens has said before that he is prepared to put $500k into his own campaign, so it will be interesting to see how much of the $725,000 his campaign is reporting having raised came from the candidate himself. But whether Wiens dipped into his own bank account, raised the money or had it delivered by a magical fairy, $725,000 is still a lot of money. This result pretty much can’t help but put a few dents in Jane Norton’s ‘aura of inevitability.’
The biggest news from Q4 on the Republican side is the anemic $40,000 raised by Buck, whose spokesman termed it “a disappointment.” We wouldn’t call it a disappointment so much as a “disaster,” since most of Colorado’s congressional candidates pulled in much more than that in Q4.
While Buck does have the support of outside groups, we hear that Republicans who are supportive of Buck as a candidate are now starting to encourage him to run in CD-4. If Buck can only net $40,000 in a quarter, then he’s not ready to be a candidate for U.S. Senate, although he has shown the chops to be a strong candidate for another office.
Given the fact that Republican Cory Gardner continues to make stupid mistakes and has been weak to this point in his campaign against Democrat Betsy Markey, it’s no surprise that many Republicans view Buck as a better choice for that seat anyway. Buck has a natural base in Greeley, which is a major population center in the district, and his relatively weak fundraising would be less of an issue in a congressional race than a Senate primary with two big money opponents. Democrats would probably prefer that Buck stay in the Senate primary and make Wiens and Jane Norton spend every last penny that they raise, but we can’t disagree that it would make sense for a lot of reasons for Buck to switch gears.