Figures released by the Federal Election Commission last week showed that Mr. West raised more than $433,000 in the first quarter of year, ranking third among all freshman Republicans. And he has already spent much of that, mostly on direct-mail fund-raising and other expenses. During the same reporting period in the 2010 campaign, Mr. West raised just over $839,0000…

Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that tracks Congressional races, said the freshman Republican fund-raising numbers were intriguing, but cautioned against reading too much into them at this point.

“It’s interesting if it holds up,” Mr. Cook said. “But I wouldn’t get too worked up about it until the second or third quarter. If the trend holds, then I think you have to starting looking at it seriously.”