Gardner raises $1.4 million to challenge Udall

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DENVER (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner is reporting that he raised $1.4 million during the first three months of the year for his race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Almost all of that money was raised in March alone. Gardner shocked the political world by entering the race at the last minute during the final week of February. He had a total of $2.1 million cash at the end of March.

Gardner is viewed as a rising star in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. His entry transformed the race into a top-tier contest. Udall reported $5.9 million on hand at the end of the first quarter. It is expected to become one of the costliest Senate races in the nation. Outside interest groups have already spent more than $1 million in ads.

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