Here’s the money being used to push candidates for Colorado governor

The most competitive Colorado governor’s contest in decades and several other contentious primary battles enter the final week with plenty more political TV ads to air, many of them from outside groups.

And that’s not to mention the mailers and internet ads deluging potential voters, some of which are taking nasty turns.

But the governor’s race remains the big focus, with four Republicans and four Democrats battling for their respective nominations.

Here’s a look at political ad spending by the gubernatorial candidates and outside groups supporting or opposing them based on contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission through Friday:

Some observations, beyond that fact that Democratic Congressman Jared Polis and Republican businessman Victor Mitchell have spent a boatload of cash:

Democratic Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne began airing ads again last week after a few weeks off the air. She’s planning to spend at least $100,000 in the final two weeks.

Former Democratic state Treasurer Cary Kennedy is airing mostly cable ads in the past week or so.

Former state Sen. Michael Johnston, another Democrat, is also airing ads on both cable and traditional TV.

Republican businessman Doug Robinson is airing ads on cable TV, but it’s a pretty limited buy.

Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez purchased $2,000 worth of time in Grand Junction last week, his first foray into TV advertising.

This doesn’t tell the entire picture, however. As we’ve pointed out previously, TV stations don’t have to file contracts for super PACs supporting state-level candidates, even though some stations do.

For the bigger picture, we reviewed independent spending reports from May 31 through Sunday. Outside groups have reported spending nearly $5.5 million during that time period.

Here’s a look at the top five independent spenders in the governor’s race:

And a summary of what that money is buying:

Frontier Fairness is airing TV ads supporting Democrat Mike Johnston.

Teachers for Kennedy is airing TV and internet ads and sending mailers supporting Democrat Cary Kennedy.

Bold Colorado is airing TV and internet ads opposing Kennedy. The super PAC supports Congressman Jared Polis.

Sierra Club is airing TV ads and sending mailers supporting Polis.

Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility is airing TV ads supporting GOP Treasurer Walker Stapleton and opposing businessman Victor Mitchell.

It’s unclear who is funding the Sierra Club efforts. The group has yet to file a report with any contribution information. A spokesman announcing the TV ad buys said the group’s members are funding the ads, but it’s unclear if the names of those members will be disclosed.

Funding for the other groups:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman each gave $1 million to Frontier Fairness.

Teachers unions and super PACs supporting Democratic women for office are funding Teachers for Kennedy.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund gave $175,000 to Bold Colorado.

The nonprofit Colorado Taxpayers’ Advocate Fund gave $300,000 to Coloradans for Fiscal Responsibility. This is another instance where it’s virtually impossible to know where that money came from because nonprofits don’t have to disclose their donors.

Photo by Kurtis Garbutt for Creative Commons on Flickr.