Yesterday we discussed the first campaign finance reports from the Democratic candidates for governor, Bill Ritter and Rutt Bridges. Their Republican counterparts, Marc Holtzman and Rep. Bob Beauprez, are expected to release their fundraising numbers for the second quarter today, and most observers believe both candidates will report more money than Ritter or Bridges. Meanwhile, two congressional candidates are going to wind up somewhere in between.

Democrat Ed Perlmutter and Republican Rick O’Donnell, two candidates running for the seat that Beauprez will likely vacate to run for governor, announced impressive fundraising numbers late yesterday. O’Donnell led the way with $269,000 raised from April through June, while Perlmutter came in at $215,000. While it looks like O’Donnell has a big fundraising lead, Perlmutter’s figures are actually just as impressive, if not more.

For one thing, O’Donnell has essentially been a candidate since the beginning of the year (even though Beauprez hadn’t announced his intentions to run for governor, O’Donnell has had a campaign committee open for a long time) and he’s been preparing for this race since he lost the Republican nomination to Beauprez in 2002.

Perlmutter, on the other hand, didn’t formally announce his intentions until late March. That’s a small difference, but the big reason why Perlmutter’s numbers are so impressive is that he has a serious primary opponent, while O’Donnell does not. Democrat Peggy Lamm hasn’t announced her fundraising figures yet, but her presence alone makes it harder for Perlmutter to raise money. Many donors prefer to stay out of the middle of a primary and not donate to either candidate, and it can be hard to convince them to get involved. That Perlmutter could come close to O’Donnell in fundraising while fighting off a Democratic primary challenger is an important note to make when comparing the fundraising numbers.