Romanoff serves up best quarter yet, still lags Bennet

By Ernest Luning
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Democratic Senate challenger Andrew Romanoff raised $619,814 in the 2nd Quarter, according to figures obtained by The Colorado Statesman. It’s his best fundraising quarter to date but still leaves him lagging significantly behind the incumbent, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who reported raising almost exactly twice that amount in the quarter ending June 30.

Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff prepares to return a volley during a tennis tournament fundraiser for his campaign July 17 at Washington Park.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
Doubles teams Ted Pascoe, left, Andrew Romanoff, Manny Candelaria and Shiraz Oomrigar smile after finishing play at a fundraiser for Romanoff’s Democratic primary campaign. Romanoff and Candelaria were the victorious doubles team in action that culminated a daylong tournament.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman
Senate candidate/athlete Romanoff awaits a serve during a fundraising tennis tournament that was held at Washington Park in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Romanoff reported spending $657,454 in the three month period, leaving his cash-on-hand in the final approach to the August 10 primary at $464,340. The new figures bring Romanoff’s total fundraising since he entered the race last fall to $1,635,508.

Romanoff was the only Senate candidate who didn’t announce his fundraising totals. Reports were due July 15 to the Federal Election Commission.

A spokesman for the Romanoff campaign said his fundraising accelerated sharply in the month of June, following his win over Bennet at the state assembly. An endorsement letter from former President Bill Clinton landed just one day before the quarter closed, but also prompted additional contributions, Romanoff spokesman Roy Teicher said.

As in previous reporting periods, Bennet raised the most among the four candidates vying for his seat, according to figures released by campaigns last week. The Democrat said his campaign set a record for the number of individual donors to a Colorado campaign before the primary, posting 20,128 individual contributors to date. His campaign also boasts more individual donors than all his rivals combined.

The total reported by Bennet for the 2nd Quarter was $1.24 million, bringing his total haul to $7.44 million. The campaign reported $2.6 million cash on hand.

Bennet’s current fundraising total was down slightly from the previous quarter, which saw $1,405,177 added to his coffers. That total included an estimated $675,000 raised during a fundraising visit by President Barack Obama in February.

Former lieutenant governor Jane Norton, who has led the fundraising race among Republican Senate candidates, announced she raised roughly $900,000 in the 2nd Q­­uarter, making it her best fundraising quarter to date. It brings her total fundraising since last fall to just under $3 million. Her campaign said she would report just over $600,000 cash on hand.

Norton rival Ken Buck, the Weld County district attorney, also posted his best fundraising quarter since entering the race more than a year ago, reporting $417,000 to the FEC. He ended the quarter with $664,000 cash on hand, which his campaign crowed was “significantly more” than what Norton had in the bank at the same time. Buck’s campaign also said 4,897 donors have contributed to his campaign.

As mail ballots go out this week to the majority of Colorado voters, all four candidates are pouring money into TV commercials, making the cash-on-hand amounts critical. Bennet’s $2.6 million on-hand towers above the $664,000 held by Buck, the roughly $600,000 in Norton’s coffers, and the $464,340 Romanoff reported.

This week alone, more than $1.27 million was being spent statewide on Senate primary candidate TV advertising and ads paid for by outside groups, a number that will likely accelerate in the remaining weeks before ballots are due.

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com