Fundraising numbers are out in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race. While the indecisive Michael Bennet has awed observers once again with his million dollar-plus cash intake, numbers for the two most highly-touted Republican challengers Ken Buck ($330,000) and Ryan Frazier ($140,000) were significantly less overwhelming.
Given their different positions, statuses, and backgrounds, one cannot reasonably hold the same expectations for the three candidates. Still, at this point it’s clear that the appointed incumbent Michael Bennet is winning this phase of the game.
Frazier wisely is using the opportunity to transition from the exploratory committee phase to an officially declared campaign. His first quarter fundraising numbers doubtless have raised concerns in some circles. He will need the big momentum from this transition to carry forward into a more impressive take this fall. Though not as urgently, Buck also would do well to pick up the pace.
As Rocky Mountain Right blogger Senate Watch notes, if you support either or both of these Republican candidates and are disappointed by the numbers, there is something you can help to do about it.
At the same time, while cash is very important, Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini points to Florida’s Republican Senate primary to remind us to look beyond the fundraising numbers:
Underfunded candidates like [Marco] Rubio don’t need more money now. The need an argument. A bulletproof argument from a plausible candidate is worth tens of millions of dollars in any primary, overwhelming a financial advantage of any magnitude. While frontrunners confuse high-dollar fundraising for actual grassroots support, a conclusion that headlines like The Hill’s do nothing to discourage, smart underdogs would do right to focus on building an impregnable message advantage. Because that’s the part that counts for 90% in any electoral victory.
Overlooked in much of the reporting but of some crucial importance at this point in the election cycle, Frazier reports having recruited 800 volunteers across Colorado to help spread the message. If Ruffini is to be trusted, Frazier “would do right to focus on building an impregnable message advantage.”
Regardless, a repeat of less-than-overwhelming fundraising numbers in October from Buck and Frazier very well could reshape the dynamics of the race. Whispered rumors of drafting former Congressman Bob Beauprez into the race will increase. My analysis from May remains unchanged.
As for Cleve Tidwell? I can’t find any fundraising report from the campaign. In this case, no news most likely is not good news. Will the Tidwell campaign survive into 2010? There’s another storyline for you.