Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne raises more than $384,000 in Democratic gubernatorial race

Author: Ernest Luning - October 12, 2017 - Updated: October 13, 2017

Donna Lynne, John HickenlooperGov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne in 2016. (Photo by David Zalubowski/AP file photo)

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, a Democratic candidate for governor, plans to report bringing in $384,335 during the most recent fundraising quarter, her first since jumping in the crowded primary, her campaign said Thursday.

The former Kaiser Permanente executive plans to report her campaign had 792 individual donors and had $321,558 cash on hand at the end of September. Her campaign said 81 percent of her contributors are from Colorado. Campaign finance reports are due to the Colorado secretary of state Oct. 16.

Lynne, a first-time candidate, entered the race in September — she started fundraising Aug. 1, when she established an exploratory committee — with term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper’s blessing, if not his formal endorsement. Four other prominent Democrats are in the race: U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, state Sen. Mike Johnston and businessman and philanthropist Noel Ginsburg.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving from voters who understand that for the state to build on its success, we need an experienced leader in the governor’s office,” Lynne said in a statement. “They appreciate our willingness to stand up for everyone — and are pledging to work with us to do everything possible to make sure every Coloradan has a good job, the health care they need, and that we protect the environment for generations to come.”

It could be an expensive race. Already, candidates from both parties have set off-year fundraising records, and several candidates — including Polis, one of the wealthiest members of Congress — have the ability to pour millions of dollars into their campaigns.

At the end of the 2nd Quarter, Johnston reported $651,591 on hand, Kennedy had $236,228, Polis had $206,805 and Ginsburg had $191,435. Lynne was the first gubernatorial candidate to release fundraising totals for the 3rd quarter.

“Coloradans tell us they are eager to see us build on the successes of the Hickenlooper administration — particularly when it comes to increasing wages and job opportunities across the state and expanding access to health care while driving down costs,” Lynne’s campaign manager, Ethan Susseles, said in a statement. “As we travel the state talking to more voters about Donna’s history of overcoming obstacles and her vision to keep Colorado climbing, we are continuing to build on this early momentum.”

Last year, Hickenlooper appointed Lynne to be lieutenant governor and the state’s chief operating officer — in charge of overseeing state government operations — after her predecessor, Joe Garcia, stepped down to take a job running a higher education organization. Lynne said at the time she wouldn’t run for the top job but said when she announced her candidacy that President Donald Trump’s election helped change her mind.

Hickenlooper has acknowledged urging Lynne to consider a bid and had high praise for her at a recent event, saying, “She’s like like a Hoover vacuum cleaner of problems — they just disappear, and everybody’s happy.”

Before her appointment as lieutenant governor, Lynne was executive vice president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and group president for Kaiser’s Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii regions. She oversaw an $8 billion budget with 16,000 employees and 1.4 million members and was named to Modern Healthcare magazine’s Top 25 Women in Health Care list in 2015. Lynne holds a doctorate in Public Health from Columbia University.

Before entering the health care field, Lynne was director of New York’s Mayor’s Office of Operations under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and had held several positions with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations. Giuliani named Lynne senior vice president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation in 1997, and she moved to Denver to run Kaiser’s state operation in 2005.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.