Campaign cash: Keeping up with the congressional candidates

April 15 isn’t just Tax Day, it’s also filing day with the Federal Elections Commission.

That means Colorado congressional candidates must report their contributions and expenditures from Jan. 1 through March 31 by midnight tonight (and, no doubt, some of them — like procrastinating taxpayers — may wait until midnight to file).

Certainly money isn’t everything in political races. But these numbers give an indication of how competitive candidates may be based on how much they have to spend on their bids for office.

The Colorado Independent is following the filings and will be updating the chart below throughout the day, and making a few observations on the filings.

6th CD: Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff ends the quarter with more cash in the bank — $2.1 million — than GOP incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, who has $1.8 million and raised slightly less than Romanoff in the first quarter.

5th CD: GOP U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn loaned his campaign $100,000 on March 31 after raising only $38,253 in the first quarter of the year. Democratic opponent Irv Halter raised more than $165,000 in the first quarter, and has $25,000 more cash on hand than Lamborn. Halter has loaned his campaign $30,000. Halter doesn’t face a primary, and Lamborn does. His primary opponent, Bentley Rayburn, doesn’t have to file a first-quarter report because he was only nominated on Friday.

4th CD: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck raised more than $200,000 in the first quarter. He’s moved the money from his Senate race to the 4th CD, but has spent more than half a million. Still, he has more than $153,000 in cash on hand. State Sen. Scott Renfroe loaned his campaign $200,000, while Steve Laffey takes the award for most money loaned to his campaign at $356,160, adding to his $50,000-plus in contributions. Laffey outraised Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who took in more than $46,000 in the month of March. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Vic Meyers raised less than $11,000 in the first quarter.

3rd CD: GOP Rep. Scott Tipton may have a primary challenge from David Cox, but he’s also got more than $714,000 in the bank. Compare that to Democrat Abel Tapia’s $39,398 ($15,000 of it his own). UPDATE: Cox emailed Thursday to say he hasn’t reached the $5,000 limit to file with the FEC.

1st CD: Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette has raised close to $600,000 but has only a bit more than $84,000 in the bank. Martin Walsh, her GOP opponent in the heavily Democratic Denver district, has only $784 in the bank.

2nd CD: GOP nominee George Leing loaned his campaign $20,000. But will he have the cash to compete with wealthy incumbent Democratic Rep. Jared Polis? Polis has more than $300,000 in his campaign account — and plenty more in his personal account.

7th CD: Incumbent Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has more than $776,000 in the bank. His opponent, Republican Don Ytterberg, raised almost $26,000 and loaned his campaign $50,000.

Links in the chart are often to PDFs; if the chart doesn’t show up, sign in to your Google account.


  1. This is insanity. Show of hands: Who REALLY thinks that this money will lead to good, clean government that works for the CITIZENS of this state? Anyone whose hand is up can talk to me about some land in Florida and a bridge in New York after class.This is nothing but legalized bribery.

    We need a system that has nothing but PUBLIC money allowed. Until we remove the bribery, we will NEVER have a decent government. Here’s my suggestion.

    1) Establish a fund that each candidate gets a certain amount depending on the race. NO additional money is to be spent, and full accounting is required. ANY breech of this would result in jail time for any person caught giving OR accepting such funds. This also means YOUR OWN money. Anything not spent is returned.

    2) Free and equal air time is provided as a part of the cost of doing business for those holding the licenses to broadcast.

    3) No computerized voting machines. Period. They are too easy to screw with and get to say whatever you want them to say.

    4) End the lobbyist – congress – lobbyist revolving door that we currently have. At least 10 years between one job to the other. NO exceptions.

    5) NO “gifts”, trips, loans, business tips, ANYTHING would be allowed from ANY lobbyist to ANY congressperson. PERIOD. These things always come with strings and can’t be allowed.

    6) Limit campaigns to 3 months from the election date. This 2 year long candidacy is nonsense, and keeps ANY real work from getting done the rest of the time.

    7)NO corporate money at all would be allowed for ANY campaigns. Corporations are NOT people, I don’t give a rat’s butt about what John “I’m here to sell YOU OUT” Roberts and his crony court say. End corporate personhood like the nonsense it is. Drive a stake through it’s heart and end it’s blood sucking existence once and for all.

    You want a system where IDEAS are what matters, not money and who gets it? Then you have to take the money OUT of ALL of it. Private money is nothing but legalized bribery in politics, it must be removed like a tumor.

    Such a system would not only be far fairer, and give ideas a real chance to come forward, but it would stop the private interests from lying all over the airwaves at every opportunity to get their money to grow through “legal” means.

    The influence the right has had through LYING, bad mouthing of American workers, outright corruption and collusion has come about because they used their money to screw the country. They continue to do so. This is the ONLY way to give US a chance at having a government that works for US instead of just the 1%.

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