Bob Beauprez officially entered the Republican race for governor Tuesday with one big advantage: Money.
Originally a farmer, he developed some of his land as a golf course community near Lafayette and then bought a small local bank. That bank grew from a single branch to 13 branches in 12 years, according to his campaign website. Financially, Beauprez has come a long way from the humble dairy farm that he’ll no doubt be describing on the campaign trail.
Since 2000, he and his wife Claudia donated almost $459,000 to political causes, according to data from the Colorado Secretary of State. Almost $400,000 of that went to his own failed 2006 gubernatorial bid. Another nearly $41,000 backed state and county Republican Party committees.
At the federal level, the couple has given almost $159,000 to candidates and parties since 2000, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Of that, $82,820 went to GOP party committees.
They supported former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both in 2008 and 2012, though they backed GOP nominee John McCain in the 2008 general election. They initially supported former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the 2010 Senate race, each giving the maximum $2,400 contribution. They later donated $1,000 each to Ken Buck, who defeated Norton in the primary and narrowly lost to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
The Beauprezs also have donated to two men who are now his opponents in the governor’s race: Tom Tancredo’s 2010 gubernatorial run on the American Constitution Party ticket and Scott Gessler’s 2010 successful run for secretary of state. Claudia Beauprez gave Tancredo $270, while Bob Beauprez gave $20. They didn’t cut checks to 2010 GOP nominee Dan Maes, who finished third. And Bob Beauprez donated $550 to Gessler last March before Gessler entered the governor’s race.
Beauprez served as state Republican Party chairman, then was the first person elected to the new 7th Congressional District in 2002. He served four years in Congress, and ran for governor in 2006. Beauprez raised a total of $3.7 million to Ritter’s $4.4 million, and lost that race to the Denver Democrat who served a single term. While Beauprez led the GOP ticket in the gubernatorial bid, his campaign donated $24,236 to the state GOP in October 2006.
Here’s a look at some of the other candidates Beauprez and his wife have supported:
– Claudia Beauprez donated $500 to George W. Bush in 2000 and $250 in 2004.
– In 2013, Bob Beauprez gave Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Sen. John Cornyn each $1,250. Both senators are facing Tea Party challengers this year, although Cornyn is expected to win his Tuesday primary contest.
– Claudia Beauprez contributed $550 to Cynthia Coffman’s campaign for state attorney general. Coffman faces a primary against former state House minority leader Mark Waller.
– Both Bob and Claudio Beauprez gave Romney $7,300 over the course of the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. Bob Beauprez also donated $4,300 to McCain in 2008, while Claudia Beauprez gave McCain $2,300.
Initially, Beauprez’s wealth will enable him to pay staff to help him qualify for the ballot. Gubernatorial candidates seeking to petition on the ballot must gather 1,500 signatures from Republicans in each of the state’s seven congressional district to qualify.
In 2006, Marc Holtzman the wealthy former D.C. lobbyist and investment banker who was Beauprez’s potential primary rival, failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot despite loaning his campaign more than $800,000.
Many wealthy Coloradans have poured money into their own bids for office.
Also in 2008, Wil Armstrong, a business owner and son of a former U.S. senator, spent $550,000 in an unsuccessful Republican congressional primary bid.
And Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a former investment adviser to Phil Anschutz, spent more than $500,000 on his successful 2012 Senate race.
Beauprez is among seven Republicans hoping to challenge Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who raised $4 million in 2010 for an easy win in a three-way race.
Since 2000, Hickenlooper has contributed more than $40,000 to state-level races and Democratic Party groups in Colorado and more than $37,000 to federal candidates and party committees. Despite his own not insignificant personal wealth, state records show the former LoDo brew-master he didn’t bankroll his 2010 campaign.
Here’s a chart of the Beauprez’s state and federal donations since 2000. Click on the column titles to reorganize them. (If you have a Google account, you must be signed in to view the chart.)
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Cynthia Coffman was running for state treasurer. She is not. She is running for the state attorney general’s office.