Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper raised a record-setting $2.8 million in the final three months of 2019 and started the year with $3.2 million in the bank, the former two-term Colorado governor's campaign said Tuesday.
The record haul for a Colorado Senate candidate in an off-year quarter signals that Hickenlooper is the clear front-runner in a crowded primary for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who has yet to release his end-of-year fundraising totals.
The race, which could determine which party holds the majority in the Senate, is expected to be among the most hotly contested in the country this year.
Hickenlooper, who isn't taking contributions from corporate political action committees, raised the total with contributions from each of the state's 64 counties, his campaign said. The average contribution was $26, and 93% of contributions were for $200 or less. (In the previous quarter, Hickenlooper accepted funds from congressional leadership committees, which do take donations from corporate PACs.)
“As we head into the election year, these resources will help us to travel across the state and get out our message of bringing change to Washington and bringing people together to actually get things done on the issues that Coloradans care about," Hickenlooper said in a statement.
Hickenlooper, who entered the race in late August after abandoning his presidential campaign, is the first of Colorado's U.S. Senate candidates to release fundraising numbers for the quarter. Reports have to be filed with the Federal Election Commission by Jan. 31.
Despite Hickenlooper's hefty total for the quarter, he's still trailing the Republican incumbent. Gardner reported $6.69 million in the bank at the end of the third quarter on Sept. 30. He raised $2.45 million for that three-month period, which was the previous record total for an off-year quarter.
None of the other Democrats running in the primary came close to Hickenlooper's fundraising total for the third quarter, however — Hickenlooper raised about three times as much as the other candidates combined, including a state senator who has since withdrawn from the race.
The primary field includes former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former congressional candidate Stephany Rose Spaulding, nonprofit leader Lorena Garcia and scientist Trish Zornio.
His campaign said that Hickenlooper, a former brewpub owner and two-term mayor of Denver, received contributions during the most recent quarter from 160 teachers, 62 nurses, 10 farmers, six firefighters, three ranchers, three brewers, a cheesemaker, a tango teacher and a babysitter.