Democrat Betsy Markey outraised her Republican opponent, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, by a 2-1 margin during the first two weeks of October, according to campaign finance records filed with the FEC on Thursday. Markey, a former Senate staffer, raised an average of $25,546 per day between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, far outpacing Musgrave, who collected $10,001 per day during the same period. Both women are hoping to represent the 4th Congressional District in Colorado next year.
Markey’s filing showed the never-elected Fort Collins resident raised $383,147 during the pre-general filing period, finishing with $225,404 in the bank, while Musgrave’s own filing showed she raised $150,022, finishing with $325,030 cash on hand. During a time when both campaigns have ramped up negative attacks on the other, both women are spending large sums of money during the final month of the campaign, with Musgrave shelling out $609,114 in the first two weeks of October, compared with the $539,436 that Markey spent.
The filings further illustrate the uphill battle Musgrave will have to fight during the final week of her campaign as she works to hold onto the congressional seat she first was elected to in 2002. Her battle was made harder earlier this week when the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it was pulling $400,000 in TV airtime out of the race and Musgrave’s name appeared on a leaked GOP “death list” of seats the party believes are lost or are close to lost.
Thursday’s FEC filing marked the third consecutive reporting period where Musgrave failed to outraise Markey. The race has become extraordinarily negative in recent weeks, kicking into high gear after Musgrave’s campaign released a new ad that implies Markey could face jail time for contracts her family business, Syscom Systems, received after Markey became employed with Sen. Ken Salazar’s office. After the ad went up, Salazar called Musgrave “an agent of hate” and Markey has called for a public apology.
Markey’s campaign has thrown its own mud at Musgrave, running negative ads throughout the campaign. It has also tried to link Musgrave to a convicted executive at Spectrum Marketing Services Inc., a firm Musgrave paid $30,200 to for production of yard signs, campaign brochures and business cards.
The latest FEC filings don’t include independent expenditures from outside groups, which historically have been a factor in 4th CD elections. In fact, outside groups have kicked in nearly $2 million this year, primarily for negative campaign ads against Musgrave. The environmental group Defenders of Wildlife has already spent more than $1 million for a negative advertising blitz against Musgrave, and smaller buys were made by VoteVets.org and the 527 group Majority Action. In addition, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has poured more than $650,000 into the race in recent weeks, including media buys throughout next week.
Most of Markey’s cash in October came through itemized donations — those totaling more than $200 each — and many of them likely came from out-of-state donors. Markey recently banked on House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi to help her fund raise by attending an event in Denver earlier this month with Pelosi, who also sent a letter to supporters saying the cash-strapped Markey needed help. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Democratic strategist Paul Begala also sent out fundraising letters on Markey’s behalf this month, telling voters victory against Musgrave is close but not sealed.
Markey has consistently done a better job fundraising than Fort Collins Democrat Angie Paccione did in 2006 when she ran against Musgrave and lost by fewer than 3 percentage points. At the same point in that race in 2006, Paccione, a former state lawmaker, had raised $212,913 during the pre-general filing period and had raised nearly $600,000 less than Markey throughout the campaign at this point. Musgrave, who has struggled to fundraise during this election cycle at the same rate she has in previous elections, raised slightly more this year than in 2006, when her early October pull was $136,882.
Despite raising more during the quarter in 2006, Musgrave enters the final month of her campaign with less cash on hand than she had at this point in 2006. At the time, Musgrave had $930,074 in the bank coming into October, while this year she had $798,310.