Some expensive #COleg primary contests

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A half-million dollar Senate primary?

A $440,000 House intra-party face-off?

2018’s first round featured some expensive contests for open seats, with both candidates and outside interests spreading the cash around.

Here’s a look at how much candidates spent, and how much outside groups reported spending from April 1 on in a select few primary contests.

Senate District 32

Nearly $591,000. That’s how much was spent on the three-way Democratic contest for the Denver seat held by term-limited Sen. Irene Aguilar.

Robert Rodriguez won with nearly 40 percent of the vote to Zach Neumann’s 32 percent and Hazel Gibson’s 28 percent.

While voters favored Rodriguez, outside spenders were all in for Neumann. And Gibson did well considering her spending level. Here’s a look.

Denverite highlighted the outside spending in this race earlier. Assuring Quality Healthcare Access for Colorado, the super PAC operated by medical malpractice insurer COPIC, reported spending nearly $102,000 on canvassing and mailings supporting Neumann. Two real estate PACs spent nearly $39,000 on mailers for him. And Raising Colorado, an education reform group, spent more than $65,000 on mailers and internet ads.

Colorado Working Families Party, a union funded PAC, spent more than $23,000 on mailings supporting Rodriguez.

While Rodriguez outraised his opponents, he loaned his campaign nearly $33,000 and donated more than $70,000 directly to his campaign.

Neumann, meanwhile, loaned his campaign $6,000 and spent about $7,290 of his own money.

Gibson loaned her campaign more than $14,000 and spent nearly $3,200 of her own cash.

Rodriguez now faces Republican Mark Colander and potentially unaffiliated candidate Peter Smith, who must petition on to the Nov. 6 ballot.

House District 5

Four candidates and their supporters spent nearly $441,000 in this Denver district won by Alex Valdez.

In this instance, the candidates spent about $187,000 of the total.

Ironically, the second-biggest spender and biggest fundraiser, Nicky Yollick finished last despite loaning his campaign $99,000.

Joel Judd, who held the seat for eight years before taking a few years off, finished third, while loaning his campaign more than $64,000.

Blueflower Action spent more than $12,000 on mailers and internet ads for second-place finisher Meghan Nutting.

But three groups – the COPIC PAC, Better Schools for a Stronger Colorado and Raising Colorado – gave a huge assist to Valdez. The latter two groups are affiliated with education reform.

Valdez also loaned his campaign $10,000 and spent more than $14,000 of his own money.

He next faces Republican Katherine Whitney in the general election in what is a heavily Democratic district.

House District 9

About $234,000.

That’s what the Democratic primary cost in this south Denver district.

Two women stepped up when Democratic incumbent Rep. Paul Rosenthal battled sexual harassment allegations, and kept Rosenthal off the ballot.

Emily Sirota, endorsed by independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, defeated Ashley Wheeland in the primary and now faces Republican Bob Lane in November.

Sirota outspent Wheeland $87,526 to $48,700. Colorado Working Families Party spent more than $50,000 on mailers and canvassing for Sirota, while Planned Parenthood Votes spent $47,600 on mailings and internet ads for Wheeland.

Here’s the chart:

House District 22

Nearly $200,000.

That’s what the Republican primary in outgoing GOP Rep. Justin Everett’s Jefferson County seat cost.

Frank Francone outraised Colin Larson considerably. But Larson won by fewer than 150 votes, perhaps due to substantial outside spending on his behalf.

Supporting Larson were the COPIC PAC with $50,000 worth of canvassing, Better Schools for a Strong Colorado with nearly $27,000 worth of mailers and Business Opportunity Fund with $25,000 worth of canvassing.

Accountability Colorado spent more than $8,000 on mailings opposing Francone.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and Liberty PAC, which also supported Everett’s failed campaign for the treasurer nomination, spent more than $7,300 on mailers opposing Larson. The former also spent $6,431 on internet ads and mailers supporting Francone.

Larson faces Todd Kastetter in the fall in a district that leans Republican.

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