Udall already has $1.3 million in the bank for 2014

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Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, faces reelection in November.

DENVER — Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who faces reelection next year, has $1,358,707 in the bank to start the year, FOX31 Denver is first to report.

Udall, a Democrat, raised $362,041 in the fourth quarter of 2012, 84 percent of which came from Colorado donors.

Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio told FOX31 Denver that Udall is “strongly positioned going into this cycle.

“That said, given Colorado’s history of competitive races and outside spending, we expect this to be a close and hard fought race.”

It’s unclear which Republican will emerge as Udall’s challenger, although it’s quite clear that, on the fundraising front, they’ll be starting from behind.

“It’s a big number to look up at if you’re starting from zero,” Democratic strategist Jim Carpenter, the former chief of staff to Gov. Bill Ritter, told FOX31 Denver Monday.

“I think it will give some people pause. I don’t think it stops anybody if they’re bound and determined to run, but catching up to Udall will be tough.”

So far, only former Congressman Bob Beauprez, who may able to self-fund part of his own campaign, seems especially eager about taking Udall on.

Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call has yet to respond to FOX31 Denver’s request for a comment.

But any Republican may have a harder time convincing donors, discouraged after putting so much money into losing campaigns over the past several cycles, to ante up again, especially so soon after the record spending and ultimate disappointment of 2012.

Both Palacio and Carpenter noted that Udall’s fundraising is all the more impressive for having come in a year where Democratic donors were focused on a presidential race and other congressional and state legislative battles.

“His fundraising numbers are especially impressive given the fact that a third of U.S. Senate seats were contested and raising funds in 2012,” Palacio said.

“It’s very impressive to start with this number, especially given all the competition for fundraising dollars last year,” Carpenter said.

In 2014, Democratic and Republican donors will be forced to spread their dollars across a number of races with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Udall both facing reelection and with the battle for GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s 6th Congressional District certain to be among the most contested and expensive House races in the country.

“Donors are going to have to look at all these races and decide where to spend their money,” Carpenter said.