Congressional hopeful Irv Halter has seen an influx of cash in the first three months of his campaign and heads into the fall with more cash on hand than the incumbent.
Halter, a Democrat who is campaigning to unseat Republican Doug Lamborn in 2014, raised $121,000 for the quarter that ended Oct. 1, nearly doubling the incumbent's fundraising efforts, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.
A healthy amount of the cash, $35,000, came from Halter himself. He's a retired Air Force major general and defense industry executive who described the money as "investing in my new venture."
Halter's campaign also pulled in $82,000 in contributions from individuals and $3,000 from the Democratic Party.
Lamborn got $14,000 in donations from individuals and $46,000 from political action committees.
Halter said he's been able to capitalize on public frustration with partisan politics to raise cash. In recent days, the partial government shutdown brought donors to his cause, he said.
"The vast majority, not all, but the vast majority, blame House Republicans and especially Doug Lamborn," he said.
On the expense side, Halter has been spending his cash to kick off the long campaign. He's spent nearly $19,000 on polling and nearly $6,500 on software. Halter also spent $7,250 on campaign and fundraising consultants.
Lamborn's biggest expense was $5,000 he gave to the Republican National Committee. He also spent $3,500 on fundraising consultants and $2,800 on catering.
Lamborn staffers said he doesn't care about Halter's campaign cash.
"Congressman Lamborn is focused on trying to protect Americans from Obamacare mandates and out-of-control spending and is not focused on his opponent's fundraising," his office said in an emailed statement.
While he's got an early lead in fundraising, Halter faces tough obstacles.
No Democrat has represented the 5th Congressional District since its creation in 1972.
First elected to Congress in 2006, Lamborn has cruised to re-election every two years, with 60 percent or more of the vote.
In 2012, no Democrat challenged Lamborn.
Halter said the fundraising, combined with preliminary polling, shows he's a legitimate challenger.
And he claims 2014 challengers will walk in with an advantage.
"I have talked to defense contractors and the business community writ large," Halter said. "They want a Congress that can pass legislation and appropriations bills so that they can plan for the future."