Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, left, and Republican Heidi Ganahl are running for Colorado governor. (Polis: Mike Sweeney for Colorado Newsline; Ganahl: William Woody for Colorado Newsline)
Election Day is a little under one week away, but one thing is clear now: Democratic incumbents for statewide offices won the fundraising game by a long shot.
They’ve pumped those dollars into slick television advertisements, pricey consulting and lots of internal research in the hopes of winning reelection and maintaining a Democrat in the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurer.
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No candidate comes within striking distance of incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ total haul of $12.7 million this election cycle, over $12.6 million of which the wealthy tech entrepreneur contributed himself. Polis also restricted his donations to $100 per individual.
Polis spent about $12.1 million in his campaign up to Oct. 26, about half what he spent to defeat Republican Walker Stapleton in 2018.
He made another $1 million contribution to his campaign coffers in October and spent another $2.8 million for television advertisements as voters received, filled out and sent in their ballots, according to campaign finance records that cover Sept. 29 through Oct. 26.
His Republican opponent, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, is far behind Polis when it comes to campaign fundraising. Over the course of the election cycle, she raised a bit over $2.3 million and spent about $3.1 million. Ganahl took out about $1.3 million in loans for her campaign, $46,000 of which is repaid.
In October, Ganahl spent about $1.3 million on her campaign, including $706,000 in media buys.
There is also considerable outside spending on electioneering communication in the race for governor. The Colorado Democratic Party has spent nearly $400,000 on behalf of Polis and there have been modest expenditures from Everytown for Gun Safety and the Centennial State Prosperity Action Network.
Ganahl is getting a boost, most notably, from the anti-Polis committee Deep Colorado Wells, which has spent close to $3.3 million in opposition to Polis and support for Ganahl.
There is also a lot of money spent in opposition to Ganahl — over $500,000 from Everytown for Gun Safety, and about $5.6 million from the Democratic-backed Strong Colorado For All, which gets a lot of money from the Democratic Governors’ Association and received a $2 million contribution from Michael Bloomberg in October.
In the race for secretary of state, incumbent Secretary Jena Griswold is also far outspending her Republican opponent, Pam Anderson.
Griswold raised nearly $4.3 million and spent about $4.2 million. In October, she spent $75,000 on TV ad buys.
Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk who beat out controversial Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in the Republican primary, hasn’t come close to those numbers. She raised about $280,000 total in the election cycle — less than what Griswold brought in just in October — and spent about $286,000. Anderson took out $40,000 in loans for her campaign.
She spent close to $50,000 on radio advertising in October.
Incumbent Attorney General Phil Weiser has raised about $4.6 million in his reelection bid and spent about $4.1 million. He raised about $240,000 in October and spent about $90,000 in TV ad buys and over $400,000 to the strategic communications firm Berlin Rosen.
His Republican opponent, John Kellner, has raised about $344,000 during his campaign and spent about $294,000. This past month, his campaign spent about $100,000 in media space buys.
The down ballot treasurer race is naturally less well-funded on both sides. Incumbent Democrat Dave Young has brought in about $610,000 total and spent about $625,000. He has $40,000 in loans. Young made one last TV ad purchase in October for $110,000.
Republican treasurer candidate Lang Sias raised about $195,000 in the election cycle and spent a bit over $160,000. He spent $95,000 for digital advertising in October.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voters should physically drop their ballot off at a nearby drop box or make a plan to vote in person, as it is too late to send it by mail and expect a county clerk to receive it in time.
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