HELENA, Mont. -

 U.S. Sen. John Walsh's campaign says it raised $946,000 over the first three months of the year in his bid to keep the seat he was appointed to in February.

That's a nearly 62 percent increase over the Democratic candidate's fundraising for the last quarter of 2013, before Gov. Steve Bullock appointed him to complete former Sen. Max Baucus' term.

Walsh campaign manager Aaron Murphy attributes the surge in contributions in part to a strong start to the abbreviated Senate term.

The campaign said Tuesday it spent $684,576 this quarter. Walsh has raised about $1.5 million since he entered the race and has nearly $700,000 on hand.

Walsh is the first of the Senate candidates to release his fundraising figures for the quarter.