Campaign financeElection 2018News

Republican Mitchell loans his campaign another $1M for gubernatorial run

Author: Marianne Goodland - June 19, 2018 - Updated: June 28, 2018

Victor MitchellRepublican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell visits with an eagle at the Western Conservative Summit on July 22, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Republican businessman Victor Mitchell has boosted his own Colorado gubernatorial campaign with another $1 million in loans since May 31, bringing the total he’s loaned his campaign to $4.9 million — money that he’s not likely to ever see again.

Mitchell has been the biggest spender among the Republican candidates for governor, according to the most recent batch of campaign finance reports, with $813,000 going out the door between May 31 and June 13, mostly for advertising.

In addition to advertising, one other expenditure stands out for Mitchell: employee services. The Secretary of State’s campaign finance database, TRACER, reports that he’s spent $191,000 to pay for staffing, but not one of his employees is identified in the reports.

His payroll costs stand in marked contrast to the other three GOP candidates. Businessman Doug Robinson has spent $26,000 for employee services, but all of his employees are identified by name in the reports. Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez has not paid anyone for his campaign; State Treasurer Stapleton has spent just $2,500 in the past month for staffing help.

Democratic candidates for governor are spending more on staffing. Cary Kennedy and Michael Johnston have both spent more than $600,000 each on employee salaries — but all of their employees are identified, and those costs also include health insurance and payroll/bookkeeping services, as well as payroll taxes. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis tops everyone, with $1.8 million spent on staffing costs, including health insurance, payroll taxes, workers compensation insurance and other related services.

Donations to political action committees backing two of the four Republican candidates for Colorado governor have slowed in the most recent reporting period, according to TRACER.

Better Colorado Now, which backs Stapleton, reported just $70,000 in donations in the most recent reporting cycle of May 31 to June 13. The PAC received $10,000 from Norman Brownstein of the 17th Street law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. The PAC has now raised just under $1.1 million.

That same PAC has been the biggest donor in the past two weeks to another committee opposing Mitchell: Real Colorado Conservatives. Better Colorado Now has given $307,500 to Real Colorado Conservatives, including another $150,000 in the last two weeks. The contributions to the anti-Mitchell PAC were the only monies spent by Better Colorado Now between May 31 and June 13. Real Colorado Conservatives spent $426,000 on anti-Mitchell ads in the last two weeks.

A PAC backing Robinson, Build Colorado’s Future, had only one donation in its most recent report: $5,000 from Wesley Brown, the general manager of the nonprofit Bent St. Vrain and Company. The PAC has raised just under $340,000. It spent about $60,000 on digital ads in the past two weeks.

Contributions to the candidates themselves show Stapleton is still the biggest donor to his own campaign, having contributed another $300,000 to his gubernatorial campaign in the past two weeks. This brings his total out-of-pocket to $836,000, plus $10,000 in loans. His campaign has now raised about $2.1 million, including $513,000 since May 31. The campaign spent $286,000 between May 31 and June 13, much of it on TV and direct mail advertising.

Mitchell raised $8,759 in the most recent reporting period, bringing total contributions to just over $67,000, plus the $5.8 million in loans.

Campaign contributions for Robinson topped $503,000, with $10,600 received between May 31 and June 13. He has loaned his campaign $300,000, all in 2017.

Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez has raised $32,728 and loaned his campaign another $29,000. He raised $3,860 between May 31 and June 13.


Correction: Due to incorrect data from the state’s TRACER system, an earlier version of this story contained erroneous information about candidate Victor Mitchell’s loan to his campaign.

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.