As The Denver Post reports today, Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck is the talk of the (GOP) town:
Ken Buck, once thought to be a dead-in-the-water Republican U.S. Senate candidate with laughable fundraising totals and little establishment GOP support, has surged to life in a matter of days thanks to a handful of prominent endorsements pulling in big cash and – more important – national distinction.
With almost $600,000 in a television advertising campaign from the Virginia-based Americans for Job Security, a nod Wednesday from conservative lion Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and his straw-poll win at the state party’s March caucuses, Buck is suddenly the candidate that party chatterboxes are talking about.
The Weld County district attorney’s renaissance has brought the national spotlight to the Colorado Republican Senate primary, which had been viewed as former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton versus a band of underfunded unknowns.
Now, Colorado finds itself alongside Florida, Kentucky and Arizona, where long-shot Senate candidates bolstered by Tea Party voters and far-right connections have surged into contention, challenging more established Republicans such as Sen. John McCain and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
Sounds great, but here’s the rub:
Financial support – directly or indirectly – will bolster Buck’s bid, which thus far has been able to raise little money outside of large donations from employees of Greeley-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and its family members.
Buck raised a paltry $40,000 in the final three months of 2009 and may have raised only a fraction of what Norton did in the first quarter of this year. (First-quarter fundraising totals will be reported today. Buck’s campaign refused to say how much he had Wednesday. Norton raised $816,000 in the first quarter.)
Buck certainly has the momentum in the Republican Primary, but the question still remains about the money. Can he raise the money to have a large TV presence in July and August, or will outside interest groups continue to dump big money into third-party ads promoting him? Because no matter how much momentum he has now, none of this will matter unless his mug is all over TV when Jane Norton is doing the same thing.