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Arkansas state Sen. Gilbert Baker (R) said Friday that he has raised more than $200,000 since launching his Senate bid 18 days ago.

Baker, who announced for the race on Sept. 1 and is expected to hold a formal campaign kickoff in October, is meeting with GOP leaders and Washington media during a brief trip to D.C. this week.

The disclosure of his early fundraising success comes three days before popular former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is scheduled to host a fundraiser for one of Baker’s top GOP primary rivals, businessman Curtis Coleman (R). The $500 per person event will take place in Little Rock at Huckabee’s home.

Coleman is a longtime associate of Huckabee’s who helped manage the former governor’s 1992 Senate campaign and served as national fundraiser for his 2008 presidential campaign.

Baker and Coleman are two of a half dozen Republican candidates who have filed to take on Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) in 2010. Among those also seeking the GOP nomination is Baker’s state Senate colleague Kim Hendren.

Late last month a Democratic firm released a poll of Arkansas voters that showed Baker and Coleman narrowly leading Lincoln in hypothetical head-to-head tests. Baker led the Senator 42 to 40 percent in that survey while Coleman led 41 to 40 percent.

That poll by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling also showed Lincoln with just a 36 percent approval rating, with 44 percent of voters disapproving of the job she’s doing.

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