[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ITH more than 150,000 Republican primary mail ballots already returned and the June 24 primary looming just a week away, GOP candidates for governor have yet to out-raise moderate Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper, or to differentiate themselves from each other with a fundraising mega-haul.
The last time gubernatorial candidates filed disclosure forms was at the beginning of June. At the time, anti-immigration reform firebrand Tom Tancredo and current Secretary of State Scott Gessler still had the lead fundraising-wise on establishment favorite Bob Beauprez, who is thought to have the most personal wealth of the four-pack of primary candidates. But two weeks into June Beauprez is closing that gap. He narrowly out-raised Tancredo and Gessler by a margin of $5,000 and $2,000, respectively. In total, Beauprez took in $47,749 in the first half of June, not including personal loans. That puts him at the head of the GOP pack but roughly $100,000 behind Hickenlooper’s haul for the same period.
Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp remains woefully behind having raised $22,340 in June, which is about half what each of his GOP counterparts brought in.
You can see from the chart below that while the GOP gubernatorial candidates started off with radically different nest eggs from the lengthy January 1, 2014 to April 30, 2014 reporting period, their fundraising efforts have more or less leveled off in the subsequent months as voters struggle to pick a leading candidate from the four-pack.
This is the last reporting period before the June 24 GOP primary, when Colorado Republicans will choose a single candidate to try to unseat Hickenlooper in the fall. Of course, the outcome of the primary election will radically change the fundraising landscape for the final Republican candidate for governor. After all, if you total all the contributions made to GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in June they raised just over $157,000, about $10,000 more than Hickenlooper. In terms of the last big push to win the primary, what matters for the four-pack isn’t just how much they’ve raised this month — which is a barometer of support — but also how much they have left in the bank to spend on crucial campaigning in this last week before the primary.
From this angle, Kopp looks like he’s doing a little better and Beauprez looks like he’s doing a lot better — in part because he’s independently wealthy and has been loaning his campaign some serious cash. It’s worth noting, however, that even if smart spending in these last few days helps a candidate grab the nomination, he’ll still have to raise big bucks to catch up to Hickenlooper’s war chest, which is already pushing $1 million.
[Photo by Tax Credits]