Hey, buddy! Can you spare a million dollars?
Apparently, Fort Collins residents can. They ponied up nearly $1.2 million to local, state and federal campaigns in the 2006 election cycle. While that kind of money can buy a lot of influence in a relatively inexpensive political market like Northern Colorado, the actual electoral results were a mixed bag. I examined five fundraising categories: local candidates; state candidates; federal candidates; partisan political action committee (PAC) gifts of any amount reported to the Colorado Secretary of State; and partistan PAC gifts of $200 or more, which is the lowest amount tracked by the Federal Election Commission. For the sake of argument, non-partisan PACs, or those that give to minority-party candidates at least 25 percent of the time, were not included in this analysis.
In all but one area, the Republicans were outgunned by embarrassingly wide margins. The exception is support of local and state candidates, where GOP donors excelled. The big winners in the money race are the Democrats. For every dollar contributed by Republicans to candidates and political action committees, the Democrats raised $1.72.
But before we start smacking around an elephant-shaped pi