By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton announced Monday that her campaign raised $816,000 for the first quarter of this year — an increase of about 48 percent.
But her opponents are looking forward to Norton’s final cash on hand numbers, which were still being tabulated Monday. The former lieutenant governor’s campaign spokesman, Nate Strauch, said cash on hand “should be around” $650,000 when spending is tabulated.
Norton, who has received generous funding from national interests, has raised nearly $1.9 million. Despite her fundraising abilities, primary opponent Ken Buck, the conservative Weld County District Attorney, finished nearly dead even with Norton in the March caucuses.
But in a news release issued Monday, Norton’s campaign focused on her grassroots appeal, stating that she is the “only conservative candidate with the ability to parlay grassroots support into a strong campaign war chest.” The release states that 83 percent of Norton’s 4,560 individual donors reside in Colorado.
“From day one my focus in this race has been on the issues and on appointed (Democratic U.S.) Sen. Michael Bennet, and it has proven to be a message that resonates with Coloradans,” Norton said in the release. “I would like to thank the thousands of citizens who participated in the caucus process for their enthusiasm and for their financial support as we continue the march to November.”
Buck’s campaign said Monday that they were not yet ready to release the latest fundraising numbers. But they pointed to heavy spending on the part of Norton’s campaign.
“Jane Norton is spending her campaign money like the Democrats in D.C. are spending taxpayer dollars,” said Owen Loftus, spokesman for the Buck campaign.
Meanwhile, neither Democratic U.S. Senate candidate had released their fundraising numbers for the quarter as of Monday.
But a spokesman for Bennet’s campaign, Craig Hughes, said they “expect to report a strong quarter, with far more individual donations than any of our opponents.” The campaign announced on Friday that it has mounted a petition drive to ensure a spot for Bennet on the Aug. 10 primary ballot.
Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is challenging Bennet without contributions from political action committees, earned an easy nine-point caucus night victory over his well-funded and nationally backed challenger.
The Romanoff campaign said over the weekend that they would earn a spot on the primary ballot from assembly delegates.
“We respect every voter — including the 23,000 Democrats who attended the precinct caucuses last month,” Romanoff campaign manager Bill Romjue said in a statement. “We are grateful to everyone who participated in that process — and proud to have won the caucuses, despite the barrage of corporate cash aimed against us.”