James Iacino via campaign video

James Iacino, the former CEO of the Seattle Fish Co., pictured in a camapign video, announced he's seeking the Democratic nomination in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

Democrat James Iacino raised more than $150,000 in the two weeks after entering the primary to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District next year, the former seafood executive's campaign said Friday.

The 36-year-old former CEO of the family-owned, Denver-based Seattle Fish Co. took in $156,455 since announcing his bid on Oct. 17, his campaign said, with 98% of his fundraising total coming from Colorado residents, who account for 93% of his contributors.

A campaign spokesman said Iacino has donated $5,600 to his own campaign — the maximum allowable donation for an individual — but hasn't loaned his campaign any money. He isn't taking contributions from corporate political action committees, either.

The first-time candidate's initial haul is almost as much as the $159,916 that Tipton, a Cortez Republican, reported raising during the third quarter. And it's slightly more than the $156,063 raised for the same quarter by former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs, who is seeking a rematch with Tipton after failing last year to unseat the five-term incumbent.

“I’m humbled by the early support we have seen since announcing my run for Congress," Iacino said in a statement. "Our supporters are from right here in Colorado and know we need change in Washington, D.C. Having this kind of energy so early in the campaign is exciting. I look forward to continuing this momentum as we work to meet with people throughout Western and Southern Colorado.”

The Republican-leaning district covers most of the Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley. This cycle, national Democrats are again targeting Tipton, who ousted a Democratic incumbent in 2010 but has won re-election since by comfortable margins.

Iacino might have come out of the gate strong but still has some catching up to do.

Tipton has raised a total of $552,576 for his re-election campaign and had $412,520 on hand at the end of the quarter that finished Sept. 30.

Mitsch Bush, who launched her 2020 campaign in May, has reported a total of $294,941 in contributions and had $184,058 on hand at the end of the most recent quarter.

Mitsch Bush told Colorado Politics she was curious to see how much of Iacino's money came from outside the 3rd District, as well as how much was from outside Colorado. She said that she's raised 72% of her contributions from inside the district and 92% from state residents, adding that most of her donations have been for amounts under $100.

"This shows the strong level of support for me in our 3rd District," she said.

Tipton's campaign declined to comment. 

Colorado Democrat Root Routledge, a grassroots candidate who failed to make the primary ballot last year and is running again, reported raising $2,001 through the third quarter and had $1,697 on hand. Another Democrat who had been running in the primary, state Rep. Donald Valdez of La Veta, ended his campaign this week and said he plans to run for another term in the legislature.

Iacino moved last month from Denver to Montrose, where the 101-year-old wholesale seafood supplier founded by his grandfather has its Western Slope office. A campaign spokesman said Iacino and his wife are discussing their plans with a real estate agent but haven't yet put their home in East Denver's Crestmoor subdivision up for sale.

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