Cory Gardner

Reporters pose questions to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, at the Capitol in Washington, on March 13, 2019.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner raised $2 million for the first three months of 2019 and finished the quarter with more than $3.4 million in the bank, according to campaign finance reports.

Gardner, considered the most vulnerable GOP incumbent senator up for election in 2020, has brought in $4.9 million for his campaign since he unseated Democrat Mark Udall in 2014.

“Senator Gardner’s strong fundraising quarter is another indicator of the wide range of support and confidence in the job he’s doing and the belief in his work to get things done for the state in a bipartisan manner,” said Casey Contres, Gardner's campaign manager, in a statement.

“Senator Gardner looks forward to continuing to be a fighter and leader on issues ranging from helping ease the burden of student loans on college graduates to moving the Bureau of Land Management headquarters out of Washington and to Colorado,” Contres added.

Former state Sen. Mike Johnston, one of Gardner's leading Democratic challengers, announced that he raised $1.8 million for the quarter. He reported $1.6 million in the bank at the end of the three-month fundraising period on March 31.

Among the five other Democrats who launched their Senate campaigns before the end of the quarter, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff raised the most, taking in just over $500,000 in contributions. His campaign reported $448,000 on hand.

Scientist and educator Trish Zornio brought in $59,000 in contributions and had $36,000 on hand. Lorena Garcia, executive director of Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, raised $7,300 and finished the quarter with $4,700 in the bank. 

Two others — pharmacist Dustin Leitzel and veterans advocate Keith Pottratz — didn't file reports with the Federal Election Commission by the April 15 deadline.

Since the second quarter began on April 1, four additional Democrats have declared their candidacies: educator Stephany Rose Spaulding, who ran against Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn last year; climate activist Diana Bray; John Walsh, the former U.S. attorney for Colorado; and former ambassador Dan Baer, who ran the Colorado Department of Higher Education under Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Baer, who briefly ran for the 7th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter before the Democrat declared he was running for re-election, can transfer the nearly $250,000 left over from that campaign to his Senate coffers.

Gardner's $2 million fundraising haul for the quarter ties the highest reported total for the same three-month period by a U.S. Senate incumbent or challenger in Colorado, according to FEC records.

For the equivalent quarter in 2015, a year before his successful 2016 run for a second full term, Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet reported raising $2 million and had $2.9 million cash on hand.

Udall raised $1.6 million for the first quarter of 2013, the year before he lost his 2014 bid for a second term to Gardner. At the end of that period, Udall reported $2.5 million cash on hand.

Spending by outside groups dwarfed the money spent by Udall and Gardner in the 2014 race, one of the hardest fought in the country that year.

When the dust had settled, Udall spent $20.5 million to Gardner's $12.5 million, but outside groups poured more than $70 million into the race, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, making it far and away the most expensive in Colorado history.

Next year's election, which could determine which party holds the majority in the Senate, is expected to set new records.

UPDATED: This post has been updated to reflect fundraising totals for candidates who filed their reports April 15.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.