UPDATE: From a press release sent out by the Colorado Democratic Party:
[A]ccording to Roll Call, Amy Stephens' $51k was beaten by 150 out of 166 House candidates in high profile races around the country who raised in the third quarter of 2013.
If you missed the news on Friday, it was by design. Colorado Republican Senate candidates quietly reported their fundraising numbers on Friday, hoping against hope that nobody would notice. There's a truism in politics that you save bad news for Friday afternoons, and that was definitely the plan for Ken Buck, Owen Hill, and Amy Stephens.
We'll break down all of the fundraising reports in a later post, but the last quarter was particularly awful for Stephens, who laid a bigger egg than the Broncos on Sunday. In her first fundraising quarter as a candidate for Senate, Stephens raised $51,000. Yes, you read that correctly. $51,000. For a U.S. Senate campaign.
To put that in perspective, Stephens was outraised by Democrat Irv Halter, who brought in $55k in his second fundraising quarter as a candidate for CD-5 (Rep. Doug Lamborn). No Democrat has come close to winning the solidly-Republican CD-5, yet Halter would appear to have more support in his darkhorse bid than Stephens could find in a weak Republican field for Senate. Stephens' poor numbers caught the eye of national political news outlets such as Politico:
Stephens, a former Colorado House majority leader, is seen by some in the the GOP establishment as their best hope of knocking off Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. But in the fourth quarter she raised a measly $51,000. Udall, meanwhile, brought in $1.1 million and has $4.7 million on hand.
Stephens’s poor performance is bound to raise fears among the chunk of Republicans who fear Ken Buck, a former Weld County district attorney who waged a disastrous, gaffe-prone 2010 Senate campaign, will again be the nominee. Buck raised $154,000 last quarter.
Ugh. Note also how Politico categorizes Buck's 2010 Senate campaign as "disastrous."
Even the conservative press can't help but criticize Stephens. Here's what "The Hotline" (National Journal) had to say in calling Stephens one of the fundraising quarter's big losers:
Stephens has gotten some buzz as a Republican who could mount a real challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Udall if she could win the GOP primary–no easy task, given that she sponsored the legislation creating a state health care exchange. But her fourth-quarter totals (her first in the race) were far from impressive: She raised just $51,000, a paltry sum particularly considering Udall's $4.7 million war chest. She'll have to do much better than that to get past 2010 GOP nominee Ken Buck in the primary, let alone take on Udall.
Stephens has been claiming that the NRSC preferred her candidacy to those of Buck and Owens, but it's hard to see how national Republicans could still feel positive about a candidate who had such a terrible quarter. As we've said time and time again, early money indicates support, and Stephens is clearly lacking a base of backers. Stephens says she has a new fundraising committee hard at work, but at this point time is as much an enemy as her empty bank account; she's going to need hundreds of thousands of dollars just to petition onto the Primary ballot in June, let alone money to operate her campaign or buy time on television. If it is true that the the NRSC once preferred Stephens, they are likely now having conversations about whether they should even bother with trying to unseat incumbent Sen. Mark Udall.