When Sharron Angle first won the nomination to run against Harry Reid for the US Senate in Nevada, Republicans worried that Reid’s deep pockets would prove too high a hurdle for Angle to overcome.  Instead, it appears to have galvanized donors over the summer.  The Angle campaign announced today that they took in over $14 million in the third quarter, dwarfing previous blockbuster hauls:

Spokesperson Jarrod Agen has just released Sharron Angle’s stunning third-quarter fundraising results to Battle ‘10.

Angle raised $14 million in the most recent cycle.

Agen called this “one of the most successful single quarters of fundraising in the nation’s history for a U.S. Senate campaign.”

Elizabeth Crum links to a thoroughly impressed Chris Cillizza, who can only recall one other fundraising cycle with more success — that being another outsider bid for an entrenched Democratic seat:

Between April 1 and June 30, which included three weeks of fundraising in the wake of her June 8 primary victory, Angle brought in $4.75 million.

Angle’s total dwarfs other impressive fundraising hauls by GOP Senate candidates in the third quarter including former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio ($5 million raised) and former Washington state Sen. Dino Rossi ($4.5 million).

The Nevada Republican’s showing is only bested in modern memory by the $14.2 million Scott Brown raised in January 2010 in advance of his Massachusetts Senate special election victory.

The comparison is apt in some ways, but in one critical sense, it’s apples and oranges.  Brown raised $14.2 million in a month when almost no other elections took place, thanks to the special election scheduled after the death of Ted Kennedy, who formerly held the seat.  That race became a national effort for both parties and attracted donations from across the country in a relative vacuum.

In contrast, the Angle campaign has had to compete in the full midterm environment.  Other races have received similar attention from media and Tea Party activists, such as Marco Rubio’s tough three-way race in Florida.  However, Angle outpaced Rubio almost 3-1 in the final full quarter before the election, even though Rubio’s numbers in July and August didn’t look nearly as convincing as they do in September and October.  Races in Delaware, Kentucky, California (albeit with a self-funding candidate), and Washington have competed for those donor dollars, but Angle managed to outpace everyone.

This puts Angle in good position to outbox Reid in the final stretch, instead of the presumed media-buy disadvantage Angle was supposed to have by now.  We still haven’t seen Reid’s Q3 fundraising total, but it seems unlikely that he would have matched it, let alone bested it.

Update: Brown raised his $14.2 million in a month, not a quarter.