GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls struggle on fundraising front

Politics

GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls Ken Buck and Amy Stephens.

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DENVER — Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat facing reelection next year, has had a rough few months of press, from allegations that his office tried to intimidate the state’s Insurance Dept. to revise its Obamacare cancellation numbers to a bumbling interview on CNN Tuesday night when he was unable to say whether he wanted President Obama to campaign with him this fall.

But he can take solace in the fact that none of his potential Republican opponents are having much success on the fundraising front.

Ken Buck, who appears to be the front-runner within the GOP field, raised $154,109 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and now has $262,347 cash on hand.

Compare that to Udall, who raised more than $1 million in every quarter last year and begins 2014 with nearly $5 million in the bank.

But it’s all relative.

Buck’s numbers look fantastic next to those of his main rival, state Rep. Amy Stephens, who raised just $51,000 in the fourth quarter.

Stephens, who continues to argue that her campaign will pick up support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee should she win the primary, also announced Friday that she’s formed a finance committee to be led by former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown to “help her raise the resources she needs to defeat Sen. Mark Udall in November.”

Incidentally, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, announced Friday that it raised $16 million more than the NRSC in 2013.

Also serving on Stephens’s committee: Charlie Gallagher, Frances Owens, Jane Norton and Blair Richardson.

But with party caucuses in early March and the state GOP assembly in April ahead of the primary in June, Stephens, who entered the race in October, has a lot of ground to make up.

On Twitter, Craig Hughes, the Democratic strategist who engineered Sen. Michael Bennet’s narrow 2010 win over Buck, openly wondered what Stephens has been waiting for.

Another Democratic operative was less kind.

“Amy Stephens has plenty of money,” he said. “If she’s running for city council.”

Two other GOP Senate hopefuls, state Sens. Owen Hill and Randy Baumgardner, have yet to release their fourth quarter fundraising totals.

Anticipation of the campaigns’ struggles to raise money has former Congressman Bob Beauprez still considering a late entrance into either this race or the gubernatorial contest, as FOX31 Denver reported earlier this week.

Beauprez had said he’d be especially interested in Buck’s numbers.

Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio told FOX31 Denver Friday that he’s not surprised to see Republican candidates struggling to raise money.

“When you consider how incredibly unpopular the Tea Party is in Colorado, it’s not surprising to see the paltry fundraising numbers reported by their candidates,” Palacio said.

“From extreme positions on Personhood to horrible records on economic issues, Ken Buck, Amy Stephens and Owen Hill aren’t attractive to the hard-working families of out state — and, apparently, not attractive to GOP donors either.”

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