Gardner Hickenlooper side by side

From left: Colorado's U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and former Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper raised more than $2.1 million in the Democrat's first five weeks as a U.S. Senate candidate, but the Republican incumbent, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, outraised his leading challenger for the most recent quarter with $2.45 million in contributions, the candidates' campaigns said Tuesday.

Hickenlooper's haul is almost twice the $1.1 million he brought in during the second quarter for his presidential campaign, which he ended on Aug. 15, a week before declaring he was running for the Senate.

Gardner ends the quarter with more than $6.68 million on hand after raising just over $10 million total since he launched his bid for a second term.

The Republican's third-quarter total marks the most he's raised for his re-election campaign in any three-month period, topping the $2 million Gardner reported for each of this year's two previous quarters.

Hickenlooper, whose fundraising has been buoyed by an endorsement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, plans to report $1.7 million on hand at the end of the quarter, his campaign said — likely leaving him with the lion's share of campaign cash among the nine Democrats vying for Gardner's seat.

“We’re grateful to have received support from across Colorado for our campaign to bring change to Washington,” Hickenlooper said in a statement released by his campaign. “Each and every person who chipped in recognizes that Colorado needs a new independent voice, a senator who reflects our values and will work to bring people together and get things done on issues that matter to Coloradans — like expanding access and controlling costs for health care, and tackling climate change head on.”

The Democrat's campaign said he received more than 21,000 contributions for an average of $26 apiece, with 95% for $200 or less. Unlike Gardner, Hickenlooper isn't accepting contributions from corporate PACs. Hickenlooper's donors reside in 59 of Colorado's 64 counties, his spokeswoman said.

Although Gardner's campaign didn't release details beyond his fundraising totals, his campaign said in a statement that the amount reflects broad support.

"Sen. Gardner's strongest fundraising quarter yet proves Gardner's grassroots support continues to grow, and Coloradans want to re-elect Cory Gardner because he delivers bipartisan results for this state," said Casey Contres. "While the slew of far-left candidates vying to challenge him struggle to gain traction, Sen. Gardner will continue to make sure this campaign has the necessary resources to communicate his record of accomplishments to the voters and win in 2020."

Hickenlooper's total sets a record for the most money raised in a U.S. Senate candidate's initial quarter in Colorado, surpassing the $1.8 million raised in the first quarter of the year by Democrat Mike Johnston, a former state senator who withdrew from the primary soon after Hickenlooper announced he was running.

Former ambassador Dan Baer and former U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh, the two other Democratic candidates who had been giving Johnston a run for his money, also dropped out after Hickenlooper got in the primary.

The other candidates for the seat — eight Democrats and two members of the Unity Party — have not yet released their fundraising totals for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

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