Here’s a deeper dive on this week’s state level campaign finance filings.
Governor’s race: It’s all about the cash
Let’s take a look at the top 10 candidates seeking to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and their money in the bank.
That cash is essential as six or seven of these candidates intend to petition onto the primary ballot. They include Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Michael Johnston, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, and Noel Ginsberg on the Democratic side, and Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Doug Robinson, Victor Mitchell and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman on the Republican side.
Statewide races require 1,500 valid signatures from party members in each of the state’s congressional districts. Two years ago, four candidates for U.S. Senate spent an average of $185,000 to make the ballot.
Here are the bottom line balances as of Dec. 31.
Most everyone but Coffman and former congressman and two time gov-candidate Tom Tancredo have the money in the bank to make a go of the petition process.
It isn’t clear who other candidates are employing. But they’ll certainly want to avoid problems of the past.
Committees to watch
Colorado’s 527s, independent spending, issue committees and small donor committees can be hard to track. Various people create various committees, move money among them and often their handiwork isn’t apparent for months.
Other times the efforts are clear.
These committees also often spend more than the candidates themselves, and they’re typically not supposed to coordinate with candidates. Expect that latter point to be raised at some point in 2018.
When it comes to 2017 fundraising, GOP committees are in the lead.
The Senate Majority Fund is aiming to keep or build upon its one-seat majority, and raised more than $1 million in 2017 toward that effort.
They’re followed by the Republican Party’s independent spending committee, created a few years ago but tied up in a court challenge by fellow Republican Matt Arnold’s Colorado Integrity Watchdog. Arnold lost last March, and fundraising took off.
Then there’s Better Colorado Now, the independent spending group presumed to be supporting Stapleton. He helped raise money for the group before entering the governor’s race.
Our Colorado Values works for House Democratic candidates, while Coloradans for Fairness is working for Senate Ds.
Frontier Fairness is supporting Democratic gov candidate Johnston, while Values First Colorado supports the House GOP.
The Colorado Growth Initiative appears to be a GOP-operated group based on registered agent Alexander Hornaday’s involvement.
The big bucks – where’d they come from?
We know that the gubernatorial candidates are spending big. But here’s a look at the top 10 non-candidate givers.
Venture Capitalist Reid Hoffman tops the giving chart for the current cycle with $250,000 to Frontier Fairness and $1,150 to Johnston’s campaign.
Meanwhile, several donors kicked in big to the GOP independent spending committee:
- Anschutz Corp. at $200,000
- Pete Coors at $180,000
- J. Martin Landis at $140,000
- Just missing the top 10, Extraction Oil & Gas at $100,000
Noble Energy gave $100,000 to the Senate Majority Fund.
The Colorado Democratic Party donated voter data to most of the statewide candidates.