Obama outraises McCain in GOP stronghold Colorado Springs

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has raised tens of thousands of dollars more than his Republican counterpart, John McCain, in the heavily Republican Colorado Springs region, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by The Gazette. Even though the area boasts twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats, Obama raised $265,920 vs. McCain’s $202,626 from the start of the campaign through August.

Using data from the Center for Responsive Politics, The Gazette compared donations for 30 ZIP codes — encompassing metro Colorado Springs, Palmer Lake, Monument, Manitou Springs and Fountain — tallied until Aug. 31, when the McCain campaign stopped raising money to take federal funding for the general election campaign. The period doesn’t include the record-breaking $150 million haul the Obama campaign reported for September.

“Clearly, these numbers show Obama’s message of change is resonating with voters, including in areas that are traditionally Republican strongholds,” Obama spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth told the Gazette.

The El Paso County Republican Party’s executive director, Nathan Fisk, told the Gazette the campaign-to-campaign comparison was “misleading,” because it didn’t account for donations to the national Republican and Democratic parties.

“If you look at the total number, with the RNC and with McCain, I’ll bet you $100 that McCain had quite a bit more,” Fisk told the Gazette. The newspaper found the Republicans raised $108,870, far outpacing the Democrats’ $24,383, but noted those funds have to be stretched across congressional and party-building expenses.

The newspaper found the disparity between Obama and McCain donations even in the most Republican parts of town:

Obama’s advantage is perhaps even more surprising in neighborhoods of Colorado Springs where concentrations of Republicans are especially high. In the 80906 ZIP code, for example, Republicans make up 46 percent of registered voters and Democrats 22 percent, according to a tabulation completed in February. But Obama’s contributions from that area exceeded McCain’s by nearly $9,000. The area includes the wealthy Broadmoor and Skyway neighborhoods, and lower-income subdivisions near Interstate 25 and Lake Avenue.

Noting President Bush defeated John Kerry by 35 points in El Paso County in 2004, the Gazette surmises that Obama’s fundraising advantage doesn’t necessarily mean an advantage among voters, calling the possibility “a seismic shift.”

Still, an Obama campaign worker told the Gazette, don’t count out a potential quake. “I’m just constantly surprised by the support (Obama) has, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he won El Paso County,” said Colorado Springs resident Mike Maday. “Well, it would surprise me, but it wouldn’t shock me.”

Compare presidential campaign donation breakdowns in other Colorado cities at the Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org database.

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Ernest Luning

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