DENVER (AP) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner's campaign is reporting it raised $1.4 million during the first three months of the year, almost all of it in March, following his surprise announcement he would challenge Democratic Sen Mark Udall.
Gardner raised $1.24 million in March and has $2.1 million in cash available. Udall raised more than $2 million during the first quarter of the year and has $5.9 million available. But the senator was raising funds for the full three months. Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris said Wednesday that the campaign raised the majority of its total, $1.4 million, in March.
Gardner is considered a rising star in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and his entry into the race -- along with his ability to raise money -- vaulted it into a top-tier contest. Several other Republican contenders who had struggled to raise funds dropped out of the contest and endorsed Gardner.
Since his announcement, Gardner has focused on fundraising and assembling a campaign team. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor headlined one fundraiser in Gardner's district last month, and Gardner flew to Las Vegas for a gathering of GOP activists and donors at a casino owned by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
Udall narrowly led his Republican challengers in polls before Gardner entered the race. Republicans need to net six Senate seats to win control of that chamber. The Colorado contest is expected to become one of the nation's costliest. Outside interest groups have already spent well over $1 million in advertising in the contest. Their total spending is expected to dwarf that of the two candidates.
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