Democratic U.S. Senate candidates hold first debate in Durango (copy)

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper was among what were then 11 Democratic contenders for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate at a Sept. 7 forum in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald) 

When it comes to fundraising in Colorado’s crowded Democratic U.S. Senate primary, it’s John Hickenlooper up here and everyone else down there.

The popular former two-term governor raised about three times as much as the other seven active primary candidates combined for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, though the two Democrats with legislative wins under their belt stood out from the pack, according to campaign finance reports filed late Tuesday. (Hickenlooper disclosed his total Oct. 8.)

On top of that, Hickenlooper had roughly twice the money in the bank at the end of the three-month period as the collective total reported by his primary opponents.

While Hickenlooper set a record for fundraising in a Colorado Senate candidate’s initial quarter, both of his total contributions and cash on hand lag the totals reported by Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who is seeking a second term in a race expected to be among the most expensive in the country next year.

Hickenlooper, who joined the crowded primary in late August after abandoning his longshot presidential campaign, raised more than $2.1 million in 40 days and had $1.66 million cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Gardner reported raising $2.45 million for the quarter and had more than $6.69 million left to spend. He’s raised $9.1 million over the past five years, which included a stint honing his fundraising chops as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

That group’s counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has thrown its endorsement and fundraising heft behind Hickenlooper, who maintained for months that he wasn’t cut out for the Senate before succumbing to recruitment efforts by national Democrats.

The other Democrats seeking the nomination reported raising just under $730,000 between them for the quarter, with a total of about $850,000 on hand.

Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff led the field of primary candidates not named Hickenlooper, raising just over $503,000 for the quarter. After spending an almost identical amount, he had about $725,000 on hand.

State Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, the only other current or former elected official among the Democratic primary candidates, raised $108,000 for the quarter, her first in the race. She had $48,000 on hand.

Former congressional candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding, a pastor and women’s and ethnic studies professor, raised $41,000 and had about $10,000 on hand.

Nonprofit official and immigrant rights activist Michelle Ferrigno Warren raised $40,000 and had $22,000 on hand.

The other Democrats raised less, from the $6,500 reported by climate activist Diana Bray to the $16,500 raised by scientist Trish Zornio and the $12,000 raised by community organizer Lorena Garcia. None had more than $25,000 in the bank.

The Democratic primary field has dwindled to eight active candidates in the two months since Hickenlooper ended his White House bid amid speculation he would return to Colorado to challenge Gardner.

The four candidates who have withdrawn since Hickenlooper got in — former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Obama-era ambassador Dan Baer, former U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh and former state House Majority Leader Alice Madden — raised a total of $633,000 between them during the third quarter before calling it quits.

An additional candidate, Christopher Milton, recently filed paperwork to run for the seat, but Democratic officials say they haven’t seen any sign of his campaign. The political newcomer raised $4,300 for the quarter and reported about that much on hand.

Candidates won’t report their next fundraising totals until the end of January, for the quarter that ends Dec. 31. Colorado’s precinct caucuses take place March 7, and the Senate primary election is June 30.

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