To make your mark in a competitive race, the first best thing you can do is put a big fundraising number up as soon as you get in the race. It's a sign to future donors, opinion makers, and your political bosses that you are a serious candidate who will run a serious race. The Q2 fundraising report of $100k raised from CD3 candidate Sal "The Fist" Pace most certainly did not cross the threshold into big.

For a candidate like Sal "The Fist" Pace, who has been in politics his entire career and looked to former boss Congressman John Salazar as a mentor, the first fundraising number should be extra large. That is because in spending his entire life in politics he has become acquainted with the Party's top donors and knows all the special interest PAC staffers who can cut him a check for $5,000. The fact that in calling in all those chits, he only raised $100k, is a mark that maybe Pace isn't as strong as some liberal backers would like. 

While Tipton's second quarter haul of about $150k is far from impressive, for a total of $338k for the cycle, it still means Tipton outraised Pace. Tipton is also an incredibly wealthy man, meaning that he could self-fund if needed, making his fundraising haul virtually meaningless in the context of having enough resources to run a good race. 

Incumbency being incumbency, and 2012 being 2012, Pace is going to have to beat Tipton. Meaning, he'll have to out fundraise, out hustle, and out message Tipton for the next 15 1/2 months.

In mathematical terms, Pace is going to need a lot of people who vote against Obama to vote for him. After all, even in a great year, Obama lost to McCain in the 3rd CD. It is only reasonable to expect that Obama will lose again in a year that promises to be great for the GOP.  

The Obama influence on the ticket cannot be overstated. With Colorado a must-win for Obama, you can be sure the airwaves will be blanketed with ads for most of the cycle, leaving little room for Pace to punch through with his message of why he is not Obama and not Tipton. 

Thus, Mr. Pace, who carries the Obama cross, lacks name ID, and is a generally unattractive candidate, is going to have to do something to win this race.

While Tipton's performance has been lackluster to date, Pace shows no evidence of being able to clear that hurdle. In fact, this quarters' fundraising totals, where Tipton outraised Pace, proves exactly the reverse.