U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette brought in roughly twice as much during the year's first fundraising quarter as her Democratic primary challenger, though former state House Speaker Crisanta Duran points out she raised her total in just over a month and didn't accept cash from corporate political action committees.
DeGette, the 12-term incumbent from the solidly Democratic 1st Congressional District, reported raising $138,540 for the period ending March 31 — including $58,500 from corporate and business-related PACs — and had $201,356 on hand.
Duran, who launched her primary bid in late February, raised $70,703 and had $68,618 in the bank at the end of the quarter, according to campaign finance report filed late Monday. She reported receiving a $1,000 donation from a union.
“This is a great start to our campaign for change,” Duran said in a statement. “We received contributions from people of all walks of life and from an inclusive cross-section of leaders and grassroots supporters throughout our community.”
Her campaign said she received donations from more than 300 contributors, including former Denver Mayor Federico Peña and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, both former cabinet secretaries and early Duran endorsers.
Noting that Duran raised nearly as much from individual donors as DeGette, Duran's chief consultant declared a victory of sorts.
"We don’t expect to keep up with DeGette’s corporate PAC machine, but today’s report shows we’ll build a strong, winning campaign with the power of people,” said veteran Democratic strategist Steve Welchert in a statement.
He added: “From business leaders to community activists, everyone understands that in the age of Trump simply being a good vote in Congress is no longer satisfactory. We need a real fighter in Washington and a leader here at home who will mentor the next generation; Crisanta is that leader.”
A DeGette campaign advisor shrugged at Duran's haul and dismissed her consultant's taunts.
"In the past three months, Congresswoman DeGette has been been working to reduce insulin prices, fight President Trump's family separation policy, and hold the EPA accountable," Jennie Peek-Dunstone told Colorado Politics in a statement. "At the same time, her campaign raised almost $140,000. Congresswoman DeGette's focus is on doing the work she was elected to do."
After cruising to re-election without serious opposition for nearly two decades, DeGette is facing her third primary challenge in as many cycles.
Last year, DeGette fended off a spirited challenge from political newcomer Saira Rao, who raised just over $250,000 from nearly 1,000 individual donors during her first quarter in the race. Rao raised roughly another $300,000 before losing the primary with 32 percent of the vote to DeGette's 68 percent.
In 2016, geologist Charles Norris, a Bernie Sanders supporter, brought in just $25 for his campaign's initial quarter, eventually raising $14,275. DeGette went on to win the primary with 86 percent of the vote to Norris' 14 percent.