Dan Baer US Senate

Democrat Dan Baer speaks at a forum sponsored by Colorado Indivisible organizations for U.S. Senate candidates on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Denver.

Democrat Dan Baer announced Monday that his U.S. Senate campaign has taken in $1.35 million in his bid to challenge Republican Cory Gardner in next year's election.

Baer, who jumped in the crowded Democratic U.S. Senate primary on April 15, raised $1.1 million for the fundraising quarter that ended June 30, his first quarter in the race. The $1.35 million total includes about $250,000 transferred from his short-lived 2017 congressional run.

It's a record for the most money raised for the initial quarter by an LGBTQ candidate for the U.S. House or Senate, Baer's campaign said.

Baer, a diplomat in the Obama administration and former executive director of the state Department of Higher Education, is one of 10 Democrats vying for the chance to take on Gardner, considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for election in 2020. He's the first of the candidates to release fundraising totals for the second quarter.

Candidates for federal office are required to file detailed reports for the second quarter by April 15.

Baer's haul for the most recent quarter surpasses the totals reported by all but two of the candidates for the year's first quarter, when Gardner brought in $2 million and Democrat Mike Johnston, a former state senator, raised $1.8 million.

"I'm a Colorado native who has spent his life serving — both here in Colorado and before that representing President Obama and our country overseas — and has never held elected office," Baer said in a statement.

"That makes this record-breaking $1.35 million report both a historic start for a LGBTQ candidate and a powerful statement that it’s time for a fresh face with a record of public service to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate. I am ready to go toe-to-toe with Sen. Cory Gardner and win.”

Democrats in the primary race include former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former Colorado U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh, former state House Majority Leader Alice Madden and former congressional candidate Stephany Spaulding.

Others in the running are scientist Trish Zornio, community organizer Lorena Garcia, climate activist Diana Bray and economist Ellen Burnes.

Gardner, one of only two senators up for re-election next year in states won by Democrat Hillary Clinton, is so far unopposed in his bid for the GOP nomination.

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