Democratic statewide candidates lead fundraising efforts while Polis, Ganahl continue to self-fund

AG Phil Weiser starts 2022 with the most cash on hand for his reelection bid

By: - January 21, 2022 5:00 am

Regent Heidi Ganahl left, Gov. Jared Polis, right. (Ganahl: Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline, Polis: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post, pool)

Current statewide office holders have out-raised their Republican opponents so far in the lead up to the 2022 election, according to recent campaign finance filings. 

Ganahl starts 2022 with more cash on hand

The gubernatorial race is one of the most visible in the state as Gov. Jared Polis seeks a second term and Republicans try to make the election a referendum on issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, cost of living and environmental policy. Both Polis and the Republican frontrunner have put significant amounts of their own cash into their campaigns.

Polis reported bringing in approximately $338,000 — $300,000 of his own money and $38,000 from donations — in the last three months of 2021. That brings his total fundraising haul for this election cycle to approximately $964,000. He has put $723,000 of his own money into the campaign so far. 

Polis reported that 101 people donated the maximum per-year amount of $100. In addition to only allowing small dollar donations, he does not accept donations from political action committees. 

With approximately $268,000 in expenditures from the reporting period, Polis ended the year with approximately $205,000 in cash. His largest expenditure from the fourth quarter was $32,000 for data acquisition services from Ascend Digital Strategies, a Washington, D.C., firm with multiple Democratic Colorado clients including Rep. Joe Neguse and state Sen. Kerry Donovan. 

The leading Republican candidate for governor, University of Colorado regent Heidi Ganahl, reported approximately $471,000 in contributions from the quarter; $200,000 of that was money she contributed herself and $50,000 was a loan she converted into a direct contribution. 

Ganahl agreed to a voluntary spending limit for her campaign, allowing her to accept up to $2,500 per individual donor but limiting her total campaign expenditures. She received that top amount from 70 contributors last quarter, including from Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz.

Ganahl has raised approximately $658,000 since starting her campaign last September. She ended 2021 with approximately $351,000 in the bank. 

“Momentum is building quickly. We have a solid financial team in place that is supported by volunteers from across the state. We also have a good amount of cash on hand that we will continue to use wisely to introduce Heidi to as many voters across Colorado as possible,” campaign communications director Lexi Swearingen wrote in an email.

The Democrats directly challenge that appraisal, saying that there is a “clear lack of momentum” from Ganahl.

“Ever since her failed launch followed by hiding from questions and numerous campaign blunders it’s no wonder we see such lackluster fundraising. Heidi is not delivering what her party wants,” Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Nico Delgado wrote in an email.

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Other Republican candidates are bringing in modest amounts of cash in comparison. Former Parker mayor Greg Lopez brought in approximately $17,500 in the fourth quarter and started the year with nearly $20,000. Real estate agent Danielle Neuschwanger raised approximately $32,000 and currently has approximately $4,400 in the bank. She loaned herself nearly $12,000 in the last quarter.

Neuschwanger also reported 593 individual donors in the fourth quarter, more than Ganahl’s 502, according to an analysis from the Colorado Democratic Party.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the Democratic incumbent, reported raising over $320,000 in the last three months of 2021. She finished the year with nearly $1.4 million in the bank. Her largest expenditure in the fourth quarter was approximately $3,000 for a fundraising solicitation print job. 

Griswold’s Republican opponents do not come close in their fundraising efforts. Former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson raised approximately $40,000 since announcing her candidacy in late October, including $2,500 from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea. Anderson also loaned her campaign $10,000. Mike O’Donnell reported a $50,000 loan to his campaign but no other contributions in the fourth quarter. He spent over $10,000 on a strategic strategy for his campaign from a Wyoming company called Capital Connections.

Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser reported raising nearly $435,000 in the fourth quarter, a staggering haul despite not having a Republican opponent. He received $27,000 from the Colorado Democratic Party and a $1,250 donation from Sen. Michael Bennet. At the end of the year, Weiser had approximately $2.3 million in cash on hand, more than any statewide candidate.

Treasurer Dave Young, a Democrat, reported raising approximately $45,000 in the last quarter, including $2,500 from the Colorado Democratic party and $1,250 from Bennet. He started the year with approximately $189,000 in the bank.

His Republican opponent, former state Rep. Lang Sias, raised approximately $34,000. He contributed $10,000 of that amount and started the year with approximately $32,000.

The next financial filing deadline for statewide candidates is May 2. Primary elections are on June 28.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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