Republican Eli Bremer said Friday that his U.S. Senate campaign raised just over $250,000 in the most recent quarter for his bid to unseat Democrat Michael Bennet in next year's election.
Bremer, who joined what has become a crowded GOP U.S. Senate primary in August, reported $209,365 cash on hand on Sept. 30, the end of the fundraising period. The totals don't include any loans or donations from the candidate, Bremer noted.
It's the most money reported so far by any of the eight Republicans hoping to challenge Bennet, who is seeking a third term, but falls far short of the $2 million Bennet raised in the third quarter or the $3.5 million Bennet had on hand.
"I am moved by the support of so many of my fellow Coloradans and veterans who know we deserve better than an absentee Senator who only votes the way his party bosses tell him," Bremer said in a statement.
"Coloradans deserve a strong conservative who will fight for the issues that matter: a secure border, a strong and open economy and the right to life. In the U.S. Senate, I will be a voice for Coloradans, not D.C. special interests, and these supporters have helped begin to make that possible."
Bremer is a former Olympic athlete — he competed in the Modern Pentathlon in the 2008 summer games — and a former chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party.
At least one-third of his roughly 500 donors are veterans or their family members, Bremer told Colorado Politics. He also reported contributions from 11 professional athletes, including four Olympic medalists, a former NFL player and a world champion triathlete, Bremer's campaign said.
A spokesman for the state Democratic Party dismissed Bremer's initial quarterly report as underwhelming.
“Eli Bremer’s campaign fizzled because he hasn’t campaigned in the two months since he announced and candidates like Ron Hanks are stealing the GOP spotlight," said Nico Delgado, referring to the ultra-conservative state lawmaker from Cañon City who declared his candidacy at the beginning of the month.
"Bremer can’t win over Coloradans with his desperate right wing pandering.”
The ranks of potential Bennet challengers grew by one late Thursday when conservative talk radio host Deborah Flora joined the primary field.
In addition to Hanks, others in the running include 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.
Candidates for federal office are required to file detailed reports for the third quarter by midnight Friday.
UPDATED: This story has been updated to include a comment from a spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party.