Shopping this weekend? Please keep the less fortunate in mind. Join our toy drive

Coffman, Romanoff neck and neck in first quarter fundraising

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

DENVER — It may seem early but the race between Rep. Mike Coffman and Andrew Romanoff is underway, with the first quarter’s fundraising deadline already underlining the closeness of the race and prompting some serious campaign spin.

Coffman, R-Aurora, raised $510,000 in the first quarter of 2013, his campaign announced Tuesday.

It’s a big number for a member of Congress to raise in the first quarter of the first year of a two-year campaign cycle — but it also appeared to be just slightly more than brought in by his opponent, Democrat Andrew Romanoff, whose campaign announced last week a first quarter haul of “more than $500,000.”

“Fresh off his re-election, Congressman Coffman is in a strong position to start the 2014 election cycle after raising more money in the first quarter than ever before,” said Tyler Q. Houlton with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Andrew Romanoff’s fundraising numbers are further proof he is bought and paid for by the same Washington Democrats, special interests, and big businesses he hypocritically criticizes on the campaign trail.”

But roughly an hour after FOX31 Denver reported Coffman’s fundraising, Romanoff’s campaign called and said that its first quarter total is actually $513,977 — possibly just more than Coffman, who’s exact total has not been released.

When we inquired about Coffman’s final number, Houlton told FOX31 Denver that the campaign’s “total receipts are $518,000 but, like most campaigns, there will be a few thousand in refunds.”

Let the one-upping begin.

Romanoff famously declared he wouldn’t take special interest money during an unsuccessful 2008 U.S. Senate primary race against Sen. Michael Bennet; and heading into next year’s congressional race, Romanoff is sticking to that promise.

According to a campaign press release last week, Romanoff’s first quarter fundraising total is mostly made up of small donations from Colorado residents.

“The fact that Andrew raised over $500,000 without contributions from PACs shows the depth of grassroots support behind his campaign,” said Rick Palacio, the chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party. “These numbers also show that this is going to be an extremely competitive race and the hard-working people of Aurora, Brighton and Centennial are going to work hard to ensure that Rep. Coffman is defeated in 2014.”