If Colorado Pols is to be believed, the big question mark surrounding the 6th Congressional district race right now is all about how much money Denver state Rep and avowed carpetbagger Joe Miklosi can raise before the curtain comes down on 2011.

Despite rolling out the endorsements of every state House Democrat, the same cast who endorsed Andrew Romanoff in his failed US Senate primary bid last year, Miklosi's best chance at chasing Romanoff away from the race is to raise gobs of cash and thereby prove to Democrat insiders he is a serious candidate who will give the party a serious shot at taking the seat.

But that's exactly the problem for Miklosi. With Andrew Romanoff steadfastly refusing to tamp down the speculation he might challenge Miklosi in a Democrat primary, donors will likely withhold their checks from Miklosi, waiting to find out if the much better known Romanoff intends on entering.

Miklosi struggled last quarter to raise cash from many real people, instead relying heavily on his friends who run Political Action Committees (PACs) and can dole out donations at $5,000 a pop.

As the first fundraising quarter is generally when candidates go for the low hanging fruit of friends and perennial political donors, Miklosi's meager 130k, with 45k coming from PACs, does not bode well for this current quarter's haul.

Making matters worse for Miklosi, with the GOP's appeal of the redistricting decision, the lines won't be set until at least December, meaning Romanoff is likely to continue fanning the flames of speculation surrounding his potential candidacy. All the while, Miklosi will likely meet stiff resistance from donors awaiting Romanoff's decision. 

Romanoff has far better name ID in the district, as Miklosi is a no-name to all but the most insider of insiders. Romanoff is also known to the national press and has a sizable donor base that could raise the types of dollars that will be necessary to give Coffman even a nominally competitive race. That political stature of Romanoff, combined with donors fear of feeding a bruising primary battle, means many will leave Miklosi's calls unreturned. 

Coffman himself can raise cash hand over fist. Just last month he hosted a fundraiser netting $840,000 in a single event for the NRCC, breaking all NRCC records for regional fundraisers. If a Democrat can't raise big bucks in the 6th CD, it doesn't matter how the judge gerrymanders the lines, they won't have a snowball's chance in hell. 

And that seems to be the Miklosi campaign's Catch 22: They need to raise money to chase away Romanoff, but won't be able to raise enough while Romanoff sits silently on the sidelines. 

(Photo Credit: Colorado News Agency)