Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Most Expensive Primary in Colorado History

In 2017, I predicted we would have a $25 million primary race. Six weeks before the election, the campaigns are 60 percent of the way there. I expect them to hit it since the race is competitive in both parties.

The Democratic candidates have raised and spent the most money. The race appears a dual between Cary Kennedy, with much of the party and labor behind her, and Jared Polis, with money being guided into media and grassroots organizations, especially social media aimed at unaffiliated voters. Also, spending money on media is Mike Johnston. Donna Lynn has neither money nor much of a campaign.

Among the Republicans, Vic Mitchell continues to be the big spender, having self-funded his race at the start with a donation of $3 million. Reports appear to show Walker Stapleton only spent $600,000 during the report period, but he has an independent PAC supporting him. Doug Robinson spent $650,000.

Campaign spending observation:
  • Democrats regularly outspend Republicans in elections. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both outspent their rivals, and it’s common in Colorado. Democrats are outspending Republicans two-to-one so far in this primary.
  • The competition appears more intense on the Democratic side. Democrats believe the primary could be electing the next governor. With changes in the state’s partisanship and help from a blue wave from D.C., Democrats hope for momentum.
  • The Republican race is harder to estimate. Much of Walker Stapleton’s money is in the shadows. The Republican convention showed the frontrunners, but not overwhelmingly. His competitors have some support and money, but no public poll shows them in contention. Republican leaders mostly decided this race early, and thus far, the outsiders have not had an impact.
  • Colorado is a big money state, much of it from the coasts. Both parties intensely want the governorship for a host of reasons, but the presidency and next round of 2020 senate and congressional elections is one of the biggest.

Colorado Politics: Colo. Governor’s race: Who has raised and spent the most so far?
7News: Democrats continue to outperform Republicans in Colorado 2018 governor’s race fundraising

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