U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton held the lead in the fundraising race for the 2012 election, but challenger Sal Pace stayed close behind despite being in the race for just a month.
Fridays reports to the Federal Election Commission were the first head-to-head matchup between Tipton, R-Cortez, and Pace, D-Pueblo, who is the minority leader in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Tipton raised $146,000 in the second quarter, from April through June, compared with Paces $102,000. Pace, though, entered the race at the end of May.
Im very humbled by the outpouring of support, Pace said. Most of our money came from the 3rd (Congressional District), and most of the donors gave less than $100.
Tipton finished the quarter with $249,000 cash on hand, but he also has $111,000 in debts left over from the 2010 campaign.
Hes proven hes going to be a more than capable candidate. His fundraising is fine, said Tyler Houlton, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Individual fundraising will be just part of the story for the 2012 election. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put Tipton on its list of the 25 top targeted Republicans the first clue that another flood of national money could be headed to the district.
Both national parties made multimillion-dollar investments in the 3rd District race in 2004 and 2010, when Tipton defeated Democrat John Salazar in a Republican wave that gave the GOP control of the House.
Tiptons total for the year of $232,000 raised is shy of the $278,000 Salazar had raised by this time in the 2010 election cycle, but Salazar was serving on the influential House Appropriations Committee a post that attracts donations.
Tipton also fell short of the totals raised by incumbents in Colorados other closely watched districts. Republicans Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner each raised about $600,000 so far this year, and Democrat Ed Perlmutter has raised $500,000.
Tipton said he was satisfied with his total.
We are on pace to raise over a million dollars during this cycle, which is right where we want to be, he said in a written statement. Were proud to have a quarter of a million dollars in the bank and two strong quarters.
Pace expects an expensive race on the Western Slope.
The unfortunate reality in that congressional district is theres going to be a lot of money raised and spent. Its unfortunate that its important, but its vitally important, Pace said.
Almost all of Paces fundraising came from Colorado, either from the Denver area or the Western Slope. He also got $10,000 from the political action committee of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union and $5,000 from the United Steel Workers.
Paces Pueblo district includes a large steel mill.
Tipton raised $90,000 from political action committees, but a detailed report on his fundraising was not immediately available from the FEC.