Yesterday The Pueblo Chieftain had an odd article by the normally more-astute Peter Roper that was a rundown of Republican Rep. Scott Tipton’s second quarter fundraising efforts. See if you see the strangeness:
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton isn’t wasting any time in pulling together a campaign warchest for his 2012 re-election bid to hold the 3rd Congressional District – even as national Democratic committees list him among vulnerable Republican freshmen.
Tipton is only six months into his first term in Congress, but his July report to the Federal Election Commission shows his campaign is getting four-figure contributions from individual Republicans across the state as well as starting to pick up the special-interest donations from the business and corporate political committees that regularly give to incumbents.
Tipton reported $147,184 in contributions between April 1 and June 30, including nearly $40,000 from special-interest committees. Since the first of the year, his campaign has collected $351,894.
If you were judging Tipton’s fundraising ability solely by this Chieftain story, you might think that the freshman Republican was doing a pretty good job thus far. Of course, that isn’t at all true.
By any reasonable measure, Tipton’s second fundraising quarter was dismal — enough so for a national outlet like Washington Post’s “The Fix” to label Tipton one of the big losers of the Q2 period. Tipton was listed along with several other freshman Republicans precisely because his fundraising has been so poor compared to most candidates around the country. Here in Colorado, fellow Republican freshman Rep. Cory Gardner raised $284,162 in Q2 — nearly double the amount that Tipton brought in to his coffers.
Tipton may have raised $338,000 in total in the first 6 months of the year, but his campaign still has $111,000 in debts from 2010. Roper’s article goes on to outline the various major donors who have given to Tipton, but what should be concerning is that it’s all the low-hanging fruit (Pete Coors, Bill Armstrong, etc.); in other words, Tipton hasn’t raised much money, and he’s already gotten checks from the regular Colorado GOP donors. That’s not a good sign.
Tipton’s Democratic challenger, Sal Pace, raised about $100,000 in only a month’s time. If Pace is able to outraise Tipton after a full quarter in Q3, Tipton will get more national attention — the unwanted kind — as one of several freshman Republicans being outraised by challengers. While CD-3 is currently a top target for the National Republican Congressional Committee, it won’t stay that way if Tipton can’t keep up his part of the fundraising bargain.