U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet raised more than $2 million in the third quarter of 2021 for his re-election bid, the Colorado Democrat's campaign said Tuesday.
Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year's election, has raked in $6.5 million this cycle and heads into the final quarter of the year with more than $3.5 million in the bank, giving the one-time presidential candidate a significant head start as potential Republican challengers are still getting their campaigns off the ground.
The total set a new personal best for Bennet's fundraising in an off-year quarter, his campaign said, with the $2.06 million clearing his previous highest quarterly total — set in the first three months of 2015 — by around $3,000.
“Michael’s campaign is off to a historically strong start, with grassroots donations from each one of Colorado’s 64 counties,” Bennet campaign manager Justin Lamorte told Colorado Politics in a statement.
He added that 94% of Bennet's donations for the quarter were small dollar contributions under $200 and pointed out that Bennet is the only incumbent senator running in 2022 who isn't taking contributions from corporate political action committees and federal lobbyists.
At last count, seven Republicans are running for the seat held by Bennet — state Rep. Ron Hanks, D-Cañon City; 2008 Olympian and former El Paso County GOP chair Eli Bremer; Fort Collins developer and former city councilman Gino Campana; construction company owner Joe O'Dea; former oil and gas executive Erik Aadland; former congressional candidate Peter Yu; and Army veteran Juli Henry.
None of the candidates have yet filed quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission, which are due Friday at midnight. Hanks, Campana and O'Dea announced their candidacies after the quarter ended, so they won't be required to report fundraising totals until January.
Colorado's 2022 Senate race so far isn't listed as competitive by top election forecasters, who note that Democrats have swept top-ticket races in the state for the past three cycles.
Appointed to the Senate in 2009 and elected to full terms in 2010 and 2016, Bennet is the first senator from Colorado to seek a third term since 1966, when Republican Gordon Allott won re-election.
"We intend to go toe-to-toe against the Democratic campaign machine in a way they have never seen before.”