Despite coming out on top in recent fundraising, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s Democratic congressional challenger still trails in cash on hand, with under $2 million left to spend compared to the Ryan campaign’s more than $4 million.

In the latest fundraising period—spanning late July to mid-October—Democratic challenger Rob Zerban of Kenosha took the lead, netting $770,000, an amount more than the Ryan campaign’s $566,743.

But a straight comparison doesn’t tell the whole story, said Ryan for Congress campaign manager Kevin Seifert. That’s because Ryan’s congressional campaign stopped actively seeking donations when he became Republicans’ national vice presidential nominee. This makes the campaign’s more than half-a-million grab “even more impressive,” according to Seifert.

“It just really speaks to the support in the district and in the state, and across the country,” Seifert said.

Ryan’s campaign still boasts a big lead in cash on hand, reporting more than $4 million left to spend on the congressman’s continuing advertising campaign, including television spots that started airing in September.

Nonetheless, Zerban campaign manager Al Benninghoff touted the third quarter fiscal advantage as additional evidence that November’s congressional election will be “a real race.”

“To be completely frank, Rob Zerban is the strongest challenger (Ryan) has had to face in 14 years,” said Benninghoff, citing the relatively low totals raised by previous Democratic challengers.

To date, Zerban has raised $1.97 million, but has yet to calculate the remaining cash on hand.

The Zerban campaign will begin airing its own TV ads across the district Saturday, and although Benninghoff did not have an exact figure of how much the spots cost, he said the campaign spent “a lot.”

This ties into the message the Zerban campaign has been pushing since its last poll: tell constituents about Zerban, and the votes will follow.

Whether that proves true remains to be seen as both campaigns make the final push in the last month before the Nov. 6 election.

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