Bennet nets $2 million in first quarter for re-election campaign

Colorado Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has reported bringing in $2 million in this first quarter of 2015.

It is a major haul and it will serve to answer critics who have noted that Bennet’s seat is one of the most vulnerable in the nation and that he had less than $1 million cash on hand at the end of last year — which was apparently, nearly two years from Election Day, a paltry laughable sum for a swing-state senator looking to retain his seat in a presidential election year against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

Bennet now has $2.9 million — that was yesterday, he likely has more today — with which to begin hiring staffers and commissioning polls and plotting his media strategy. But the money the candidate campaigns themselves raise is not even the real money anymore. It’s more a signal of seriousness to outside groups, with reported donors and unreported donors, that it’s worth letting loose tens of millions more into a race. Local television and radio stations — in withdrawal after the gazillions spent in political advertising money spent here last year — are surely already licking their chops.

Bennet last year served as head of the Democratic Party Senate campaign committee, where he was in charge of raising and directing funds. It was a terrible year at the polls for Democrats but Bennet, a freshman senator, now surely knows exactly whom to call and at what point in the election cycle to best try and land whatever sums he is looking to land.

Last year, Republican former Congressman Cory Gardner defeated Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Udall. Gardner was touted as a prodigious fundraiser. He entered the race in February eight months before Election Day. There were at least four candidates already running against Udall. Gardner reportedly “cleared the field” in part by telling those candidates he already had a million dollars in the bank and promises of much much more to come.

Which is simply a way to point out that Bennet is doing just fine.

Political observers here are speculating that Republicans might tap U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman to run against Bennet. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, another “prodigious fundraiser” who donated to Coffman’s congressional re-election campaign last year, is in town today. Coffman is reportedly helping introduce the former Florida governor to Colorado voters.

Photo: Money-green Capitol by Jaymes B.