Democratic congressional candidate Diane Mitsch Bush raised $363,000 in the first quarter of 2020 — almost exactly twice the funds raised by her leading primary opponent, James Iacino, though the former seafood executive wrote his campaign a $250,000 check, bringing his total receipts to just under $434,000 for the quarter, Colorado Politics has learned.
The two Democrats are running in a primary for the chance to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.
Mitsch Bush, who lost a 2018 bid to unseat Tipton by about 8 percentage points, plans to report raising $363,000 from more than 1,300 donors for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. That brings her total fundraising for the cycle to $789,000, according to numbers provided to Colorado Politics.
The former state lawmaker plans to report $478,000 in the bank at the end of the period. Her campaign said almost 75% of her donations were from Coloradans.
In addition to the $250,000 in self-funding, Iacino plans to report raising just under $184,000 from about 650 donors, taking his total for the quarter to $434,000. His total fundraising since entering the race in October amounts to $728,000, including $19,000 in self-funding in the previous quarter. He finished the first quarter with $361,100 on hand.
His campaign said 94% of his donors are Colorado residents.
Tipton, who finished the year with just under $530,000 on hand, has yet to report his first quarter totals. Federal campaign finance filings are due April 15.
"My contributions come from hardworking people who are deeply concerned by the current crisis and are tired of Tipton working for Washington insiders, pharmaceutical companies, and not holding this current administration accountable," Mitsch Bush said in a statement that went on to attack Tipton for voting "against protections for more than 300,000 Coloradans with pre-existing conditions."
"This crisis shows that we need better leadership in Washington," she added. "I have a record of bringing people together and getting things done for the people of CD3 when it really matters. I’ll do the same in Congress.”
Said Ryan Mulcahy, Iacino's campaign manager: "We are proud to be running a Colorado campaign, run by Colorado donors. James has invested his time in visiting, and listening, to communities across CD3 to hear directly from them what their priorities are, especially during this time of crisis."
Iacino has been holding weekly "Java with James" teleconferences with voters and small business owners in the district, Mulcahy noted.
Root Routledge, a climate activist from Durango, is also seeking a spot on the Democratic primary ballot, which will be decided April 14 at the conclusion of a virtual assembly held in accordance with restrictions on gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Tipton, who has qualified for the GOP primary ballot by petition, is facing a primary challenge from first-time candidate Lauren Boebert, owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle.
The district covers most of Colorado's Western Slope and southern parts of the state, including the San Luis Valley and Pueblo County. National Democrats are targeting the seat, though the largely rural district has leaned increasingly Republican in the last decade, since Tipton unseated a three-term Democratic incumbent.