Campaign financeElection 2018LegislatureNews

Campaign cash: Stapleton raises $255K, Polis drops $1.6M into gov. campaign

Author: Marianne Goodland - August 2, 2018 - Updated: August 23, 2018

spending ballot measures(Photo by eyegelb, iStock)

The Walker Stapleton campaign for Colorado governor has collected more than a quarter-million dollars in contributions since late June, while opponent Jared Polis has written his campaign a check for $1.6 million.

And Democrat Polis has significantly outspent Republican Stapleton over the last few weeks.

That’s according to the latest campaign finance reports to the state, filed Wednesday.

Normally, the period between the primary election, which this year ended June 26, and the Labor Day weekend in early September is quiet  as far as campaign finance reports are concerned. But that doesn’t mean that the campaigns of Colorado candidates are slowing in their efforts to raise and spend money, as the Aug. 1 campaign finance reports show. The reports cover June 28 through July 27.

And, not surprisingly, the biggest dollars raised by candidates over that period were for the biggest statewide race of all: governor.

Here’s a breakdown of finance reports on key Colorado races. Check back with later today for reports on issue committee finances.



Stapleton, currently state treasurer, raised $255,042 in the latest reporting period. The campaign spent $143,842, much of it on advertising and consultants. That included $7,312 to the Republican Governors Association for research and more than $61,000 to the law firm Brownstein Hyatt for legal costs.

The campaign has now raised a total of $2.4 million. It has $301,811 on hand heading into August.

Better Colorado Now, which backs Stapleton, has so far raised $1.075 million, with a $10,000 contribution in July from Thomas Saunders, an investment banker who chairs the Heritage Foundation. The committee’s biggest expenditure in June was for $5,000 to NMB Research of Virginia, for polling. The committee has just $18,474 on hand heading into August, so expect some big donations in the next month.

A second pro-Stapleton committee, Resist Polis PAC, an independent expenditure committee, also has been set up although it has yet to raise any significant donations.

Polis, now a Boulder congressman, put another $1.6 million of his fortune into his campaign for governor during the most recent reporting period. He caps donations at $100, so he raised another $32,000 on top of that $1.6 million.

The Polis campaign spent $593,158 during July, including $246,573 for employee services. Cash on hand funds for the Polis campaign going into August total $1.268 million.

Bold Colorado, an independent expenditure committee that supports Polis, reported it did not raise any money in July. It did spend just over $43,000 in July on research and fundraising expenses. The campaign has so far raised $469,300 and has more than $6,000 heading into August.

Attorney General

The big spender in July in the state attorney general’s race wasn’t either of the candidates. It was Colorado Freedom, an independent expenditure committee backed by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).

Colorado Freedom spent $512,000 in July, mostly on advertising to introduce Republican candidate and 17th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler through the airwaves. The committee raised the same amount, all from RAGA, in July.

As for the candidates themselves, Braucher raised just over $30,000 in July; his Democratic challenger, Phil Weiser, who came off a close primary contest, raised $252,710. Big donations to Weiser, a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School, came from the state Democratic Party ($23,600), Colorado Conservation ($5,000) and two labor unions, at $4,000 a pop.

Weiser has $267,346 on hand heading into August. Brauchler trails slightly, at $232,718.

An independent expenditure committee that supports Weiser, Justice Colorado, has so far raised just $89,370 but reported no donations in July.

Secretary of State

Fresh off an endorsement by former President Barack Obama, Democrat Jena Griswold reported raising $102,415 during July. The Colorado Democratic Party donated $24,000 and a trio of unions donated $11,500 total. She has $73,023 on hand heading into August.

Incumbent Republican Wayne Williams raised $10,595 in July, all from individual donors. He has $126,236 on hand heading into August.


State Rep. Dave Young, a Democrat, had the best July of the two major-party candidates, with $32,059 raised in July. Of that, $13,500 came from four labor unions. Young has $51,940 cash on hand for August.

Republican Brian Watson, founder of Northstar Commercial Partners, raised $6,245 in July and has $5,401 on hand for August.


With the primaries now out of the way, the biggest races for the Colorado General Assembly, and where the biggest dollars are expected, are in the state Senate. At least four seats are considered to be in play.

SD24 Adams County, including Thornton, Westminster

No statehouse contest is likely to be bigger than the one between incumbent Republican Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik and her Democratic challenger, Rep. Faith Winter, both of Adams County.

Neither had a primary challenger, so their dollars are all headed for the face-off in November.

Winter raised $47,009 in July, with top contributors like the state Democratic Party ($5,000), labor unions ($8,000, from two) and Conservation Colorado, at $1,500. She has more than $173,000 in the bank for August.

Martinez Humenik lagged far behind for July, with just $4,719 raised, with $1,400 coming from realtor groups. She has $38,900 cash on hand heading into August.

SD16 South Jefferson County, including Littleton

The Realtor political action committee was also the biggest donor to Republican Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, with a donation in July of $4,850. Neville raised $16,963 in July. He ended July with $120,565 in the bank.

Democratic opponent Tammy Story of Evergreen ended July with $181,581 cash on hand. She raised $43,506 in July, with top donations from the state Democratic party and a trio of unions, totaling $10,700.

SD 20, Eastern Jefferson County, including Wheat Ridge, parts of Arvada and Lakewood

Democratic Speaker Pro Tem Jessie Danielson is vying to replace unaffiliated Sen. Cheri Jahn (formerly a Democrat) in this eastern Jefferson County district. She raised $63,337 for that effort in July. As with Winter, the state Democratic party was her biggest donor, at $5,000, and unions also gave a total of $17,700. She ended July with $148,464 in the bank.

Republican opponent Christine Jensen raised $13,157 in July, with donations from PACs for CenturyLink and the Colorado Bankers Association as her biggest donors, at $400 each. She heads into August with $74,559 in the bank.

SD22, Lakewood

Democratic Rep. Brittany Pettersen has shown herself to be a prolific fundraiser; in 2016, she outraised her opponent by $133,000 to less than $5,000 for the Republican candidate.

Pettersen raised $74,614 in July, with the Colorado Democratic Party her top donor, at $7,333. She also collected more than $15,000 from an assortment of unions. She has $96,440 on hand heading into August.

Republican challenger Tony Sanchez, on his second try for the state Senate, has $52,142 in the bank to start August. He raised $4,652 in July, with the largest donation of $400 coming from a political action committee led by Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson.


Campaigns don’t have to report “electioneering communications” after the primary until Sept. 6, 60 days before the general election. (Electioneering communications from independent expenditure committees provide detail on who the committee is supporting or opposing and how much is spent in that effort).

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.