Bennet post $2 million quarter, sits on $6.7 million

Author: Ernest Luning - January 20, 2016 - Updated: January 20, 2016


U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign announced Wednesday that the Democrat raised nearly $2 million in the final quarter of 2015 and has more than $6.7 million in the bank.

Michael Bennet
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet addresses a Jefferson County Democratic Party dinner on Sept. 26, 2015, in Lakewood. Bennet announced on Jan. 20 that he raised $2 million the last quarter of 2015 and had $6.7 million on hand. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

“We’re headed into 2016 in a very strong position, and Michael is proud and thankful of the tremendous support we’ve received from our supporters,” said Bennet campaign manager Dan McNally in a statement.

Bennet has more cash on hand than any other Democratic Senate candidate in a competitive race, according to candidate reports. Filings with the FEC aren’t due until the end of the month.

According to an analysis by the nonpartisan, Colorado had the second-most expensive Senate race in the country two years ago, with candidate and outside spending topping $104 million. (The North Carolina race took the top spot, with total spending amounting to more than $120 million.)

In the 2014 race, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall raised and spent more than $20 million, far outpacing his victorious Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who spent roughly $12.5 million. But $70 million in reported outside spending by some 100 organizations dwarfed what the candidates spent by more than 2-to-1.

The Bennet campaign said that 85 percent of its donations this past quarter were $100 or less.

Republicans have yet to settle on a challenger for Bennet, who is considered the lone vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent in this year’s election. (The Nevada seat held by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is also considered up for grabs, but he isn’t running for another term.)

Of the 11 announced candidates for the GOP nomination in Colorado, only former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier has yet announced impressive fundraising totals for 2015. He said he raised $200,000 in the seven weeks between getting in the race and the end of the year, though he didn’t say how much he’s spent or how much was left over. The other top candidates in the race either haven’t announced their fundraising or entered the race after the quarter ended.

“No matter who ends up as his opponent at the end of June, we will have the resources we need to build a strong campaign that reelects Michael in November,” McNally said.

Colorado’s Republican Senate primary is June 28.

By comparison with other Democratic Senate candidates this cycle, Bennet’s $2 million raised and $6.7 million on hand outflanked former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, who raised $2.7 million but had just $4.8 million at the end of the quarter; Washington Sen. Patty Murray raised $1.7 million and had $5.95 million on hand; Florida Senate candidate Patrick Murphy raised $1.46 million and had $4.3 million on hand; Illinois candidate Tammy Duckworth posted $1.6 million for the quarter and had $3.65 million on hand; and Ohio candidate Ted Strickland raised just over $1 million and had $2 million in the bank.


Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.