10/31/2014 03:59 EDT | Updated 12/31/2014 05:59 EST

Tories still tops in fundraising but advantage eroding as Liberals surge

OTTAWA - The ruling Conservatives' fundraising advantage is steadily eroding the closer they get to next year's federal election.

Financial reports for the third quarter of 2014 show the Conservatives remain the most effective party at raking in donations.

But the Liberals are catching up.

The Tories pulled in $4.2 million from 35,201 donors from July to September.

The Liberals took in $3.3 million from 34,953 donors.

The NDP, meanwhile, pulled in $1.7 million from 24,529 contributors.

The numbers represent an increased haul for all three parties over the same period last year.

But the Liberals' rate of growth far outstrips the others. The party's take is up 50 per cent over last year, compared to increases of just over 20 per cent for the Tories and about 15 per cent for the New Democrats.

The Liberal party has been steadily closing the fundraising gap with the Conservatives since Justin Trudeau took the helm 18 months ago.