We’ve written quite a bit about how much Colorado’s eight candidates in the June 26 gubernatorial primary raised.
When loans are included, those candidates took in close to $26 million. That’s more than all gubernatorial candidates raised in 2010 and 2014 combined. In 2014, all the candidates in primary and general election spent $10.9 million (including folks who didn’t get on the ballot). In 2010, all the candidates spent $10.5 million in primary and general election combined. (Caveat: In 2010 and 2014, there was no Democratic primary.)
That $26 million doesn’t include more than $1.4 million raised by six Republican and two Democratic candidates who dropped out or didn’t make the ballot.
Today, let’s focus on what they spent, which is, again, a record for spending on a governor’s race in Colorado, with the general election still four months away. The total is nearly $25 million. All eight candidates had money left in their campaign coffers.
We’ve broken down the spending by candidates and spending by their respective super PACs here:
Clearly, Democratic nominee Congressman Jared Polis led the way, in large part because of the $11.3 million he spent on his campaign. Also spending nearly one million dollars on his behalf was The Sierra Club, which doesn’t disclose where the money comes from, and Bold Colorado, which was funded in large part by the nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
But Alex Cranberg, a Republican oil and gas investor with offices in Denver and Austin, put $50,000 into Bold Colorado in the last days of the primary. Cranberg is a supporter of school choice and vouchers, and served on the University of Texas Board of Regents.
The voucher issue – and whether Polis supports them – became a touchstone issue in the Democratic governor’s primary. Polis has voted against vouchers in Congress, but once supported a statewide voucher pilot program. He’s helped found two charter schools.
Coming in second was third-place Democratic finisher Mike Johnston, largely boosted by super PAC Frontier Fairness, which spent $5.2 million. That group was fueled by $2 million from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $1 million from LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
Republican businessman Victor Mitchell finished second in his four-way contest and third overall in spending, putting in nearly $5 million of his own cash.
Former Democratic Treasurer Cary Kennedy got more than $2 million in help from Teachers for Kennedy, which attacked Polis on vouchers and other education issues. But she still finished a relatively distant second to Polis.
GOP nominee Treasurer Walker Stapleton spent $1.9 million, including $1 million of his own cash. And another $1.7 million was spent on his behalf by a web of super PACs funded by a combination of nonprofits, whose funds can’t be traced, and business interests.
About 800 of Stapleton’s 2,200 individual contributors already gave the maximum $1,150, so the Republican will need to tap a new group of donors for the general election.
Polis, meanwhile, is accepting individual donations at a maximum of $100.
The next filing deadline is Aug. 1, when we’ll get a better look at what’s ahead for the Nov. 6 general election.