#COpolitics campaign cash: July 2 primary final edition

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The primary is over, the Nov. 6 ballot is set and today is when a lot of candidates close it out in terms of campaign cash.

These reports are basically cleanup after the busy – and expensive – primary season. So we aren’t going into a ton of detail here.

With Democatic Congressman Jared Polis and GOP Treasurer Walker Stapleton facing off for governor, we’re really looking ahead to the Aug. 1 reports.

But for now, the primary wrap up…


Polis topped the charts for spending at $11.3 million, about the same amount he put into his campaign. He still has $228,000 in his campaign account. And more in his personal bank account.

Stapleton finishes with more than $193,000 still in the bank for the general – and his own wallet more than $1 million lighter. He raised $2.4 million (again, $1 million of it his own) and spent about $2.2 million.

Republican businessman Victor Mitchell finished second overall in the spending race for governor and second overall in the four-way GOP primary. He ended up loaning his campaign nearly $5 million, but had $60,000 left, so he could return a portion of that cash.

Former state Sen. Mike Johnston finished the final two weeks strong, raising nearly $180,000. And he had $160,000 left in cash.

Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy finished in second in both the Democratic primary and fundraising during the final two weeks. She loaned her campaign $100,000, but had $111,000 left in cash, so can presumably pay herself back.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and GOP businessman Doug Robinson finished last among four candidates in their respective contests. Lynne spent $1.1 million, with $262,000 of her own money; Robinson spent more than $774,000 of which $300,000 was his loaned cash.

GOP candidate Greg Lopez spent the least of any candidate for governor, about $45,000. That included $29,000 loaned to his campaign, which left $18,000 on the table according to a report filed shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Attorney general

Democrat Phil Weiser raised nearly $1.6 million and ended with only $54,000 in cash after his narrow primary victory.

Weiser will be looking to tap new donors for his general election contest against Republican nominee George Brauchler, since many of Weiser’s contributors have already reached the $1,150 maximum.

Brauchler, meanwhile, has about $221,000 in the bank. But he’s been outraised by Weiser consistently.


Democratic nominee state Rep. Dave Young ends with about $23,000 in cash, after spending nearly $87,000 in his primary victory over Bernie Douthit.

GOP nominee Brian Watson spent $574,000 of his own money in a narrow win, and finished with less than $1,500 in the bank.

State Rep. Justin Everett finished second in the GOP contest, after loaning or giving his campaign about 71 percent of his nearly $173,000 spent.

Secretary of state

Democratic challenger Jena Griswold againt outraised GOP incumbent Wayne Williams, with $39,000 to his $10,000.

But Griswold paid Bluewest Media $260,000 for fall media buys, though we haven’t seen contracts on the FCC site yet. She finishes with only $31,000 in the bank, to Williams’ nearly $123,000.


Here’s an interesting nugget: Alex Cranberg, a Republican oil and gas investor with offices in Denver and Austin, put $50,000 into Bold Colorado, the super PAC supporting Polis for governor. Cranberg is a supporter of school choice and vouchers, and served on the University of Texas Board of Regents.

The voucher issue  – and whether Polis supports them – became a touchstone issue in the Democratic governor’s primary. Polis has voted against vouchers in Congress, but once supported a statewide voucher pilot program. He’s helped found two charter schools.

Bold raised more than $469,000, and spent nearly $420,000, much of it on advertising opposing Cary Kennedy.

Still, Frontier Fairness ended up being the super PAC with the most cash: raising nearly $5.8 million and spending $5.2 million to support former state Sen. Mike Johnston. The group has nearly $536,000 left – where will that money go?

Teachers for Kennedy, which took on Polis over his past support of vouchers, raised over $2 million and spent about as much, finishing with about $13,000 left. Among their final donations was another $78,000 from Love Colorado, a state-level super PAC supporting Democratic women candidates.

Better Colorado Now started out as Stapleton’s go-to super PAC. Then shortly before the April GOP assembly, the group started giving money to Real Colorado Conservatives, a different committee that aimed hit pieces at Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (who failed to make the ballot) and top Republican Victor Mitchell.

In the final weeks of the campaign, Better Colorado Now turned over $99,875 to Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility. That’s a third super PAC, which also received $400,000 from the nonprofit Colorado Taxpayers’ Advocate Fund in recent months, money that thus far can’t be traced to a source, aka “dark money.”

Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility spent $286,000 in the last two weeks before the primary, on TV ads that mostly opposed Mitchell. It had a little more than $5,000 in cash left.

Better Colorado Now ends the primary with a bit more than $18,000 in the bank and a single recent donation of $5,000 from Jonathan Bush Sr. of New Haven, Conn.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity reported receiving $300,000 from the Workforce Fairness Institute, a nonprofit opposing labor unions. Jobs and Opportunity spent $200,000 on TV ads supporting Stapleton.

Expect the Republican Governor’s Association to pick up the super PAC action now that the primary is over.

And the table – if the first column is blank, other numbers are from the reporting period covering up to June 13. Note that both the contributions and spending include in-kind donations.

OfficeCandidatePartyRaised June 14 - 27Total RaisedTotal SpentCash on handLoansSelf-Funding
GovernorMichael JohnstonDemocrat$179,746 $2,492,329 $2,332,050$160,279
GovernorCary KennedyDemocrat$129,514 $2,136,493$2,125,046$111,247$100,000
GovernorGreg LopezRepublican$1,530$34,259$45.199$18,060$29,000
GovernorDonna LynneDemocrat $6,529 $1,091,131 $1,147,627 $43,980 $100,000 $161,150
GovernorVictor MitchellRepublican $2,647 $69,031 $4,987,127 $60,608 $4,977,701
GovernorJared PolisDemocrat$10,681$11,509,486$11,267,700$228,268$11,275,775
GovernorDoug RobinsonRepublican $1,675 $505,322 $779,444 $25,879 $300,000
GovernorWalker StapletonRepublican$260,846$2,387,342$2,206,468$193,161$10,000$1,047,511
Attorney GeneralGeorge BrauchlerRepublican$14,381$373,694$151,656$220,888
Attorney GeneralJoe SalazarDemocrat$15,427$138,090$117,074$12,071
Attorney GeneralPhil WeiserDemocrat $48,309 $1,552,512 $1,349,705 $54,062
Secretary of StateJena GriswoldDemocrat$39,304$402,373$370,860$31,169
Secretary of StateWayne WilliamsRepublican$10,310$185,483$61,382$122,806
TreasurerBernard DouthitDemocrat$10,170$63,521$92,737$34$44,401
TreasurerJustin EverettRepublican$4,178$71,405$182,709$1,339$115,000$15,048
TreasurerPolly LawrenceRepublican$30,057$389,737$442,640$4,093$29,703$162,350
TreasurerBrian WatsonRepublican$1,550$384,757$755,155$1,463$472,000$102,020
TreasurerDavid YoungDemocrat$13,908$114,209 $86,625 $23,084

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