Join our team. Are you ready to change the game? Find out more →

Denver mayoral candidates raise $6.6 million for April 4 contest (Local Tips & Reviews)

Sixteen Denver mayoral candidates brought in more than $6.6 million and spent more than $5.7 million through March 29, the final campaign finance reporting deadline before Tuesday’s election, while spending by outside groups in the contest neared $3.6 million through Sunday.

Denver voters must cast their ballots by 7 p.m. Tuesday. They’ll be voting to choose who will succeed Mayor Michael Hancock, who is term-limited, and to fill 11 city council seats. They’ll also be voting on who should be the city’s auditor and city clerk. Finally, there are also three ballot measures for Denver voters to consider. 

If no candidate wins 50% of the vote in the mayoral contest or the five council races that have more than two candidates, the top two finishers in those races will go to a runoff election on June 6.

The Unaffiliated is our twice-weekly newsletter on Colorado politics and policy.

Each edition is filled with exclusive news, analysis and other behind-the-scenes information you won’t find anywhere else. Subscribe today to see what all the buzz is about.

The city’s new Fair Elections Fund matching program made up 58% of the money raised by the 12 mayoral candidates participating in that program. It uses taxpayer money to match donations to candidates of $50 and less by nine times, up to $750,000 for mayoral candidates, $250,000 for at-large council candidates and $125,000 for district council candidates.

In 2019, five mayoral candidates raised a total of $4.6 million for the municipal election and runoff.

Four candidates topped $900,000 raised through March 29, a Colorado Sun analysis of fundraising shows:

  • Former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough leads the pack with more than $1.4 million. She’s the only mayoral candidate to receive the $750,000 maximum from the Fair Elections Fund. She’s also received $974,000 worth of support from A Better Denver, an independent spending committee.
  • Former state Sen. Mike Johnston raised about $1.3 million, about 48% of that from the Fair Elections Fund. But Advancing Denver, a super PAC supporting him, has spent more than $2.3 million.
  • State Rep. Leslie Herod raised $932,000, about 63% from the city fund. Super PAC Ready Denver has spent about $168,000 supporting her.
  • Businessman Andy Rougeot raised nearly $910,000. He loaned his campaign $850,000 of that, and is not participating in the matching fund.

Nine candidates for two at-large Denver City Council seats raised more than $1.9 million through March 29, with 68% of that coming from the Fair Elections Fund. The top two candidates in Tuesday’s election will win the seats.

Outside spending

The role of outside groups is significantly larger this year than it was in the city’s last mayoral election, at more than six times the $560,000 spent on the mayoral contest in 2019.

Most of that outside cash — nearly $3.6 million — is going toward the mayoral contest. But another $1.2 million is aimed at city council contests. The $2.3 million spent by Advancing Denver to support Johnston accounts for 63% of the outside money spent in the mayoral contest and 47% of the outside cash spent in this year’s municipal election overall.

Advancing Denver accounts for seven of the 15 top donors to super PACs. Venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, a cofounder of LinkedIn, tops the list with nearly $905,000 to Advancing Denver.

In 2018, Hoffman gave $1 million to a state-level super PAC supporting Johnston’s Democratic gubernatorial primary bid. Gov. Jared Polis won that contest, defeating Johnston and two other candidates. Hoffman also gave the maximum $500 individual donation to Johnston’s campaign, and shared an endorsement of Johnston on LinkedIn, suggesting his followers “consider supporting (Johnston’s) campaign with a $500 contribution.”

Denverite reported Friday that Johnston asked city elections officials whether he could transfer money from his abandoned 2020 U.S. Senate contest, an account with more than $1 million, to Advancing Denver. He didn’t follow through after city officials said it wasn’t clear whether that would be allowed. Outside spending committees aren’t allowed to coordinate with candidates. 

Here are some other interesting nuggets about outside spending in the mayoral and city council races:

  • Colorado Dawn, a conservative dark-money group, donated nearly $175,000 to A Safe and Prosperous Denver and is the super PAC’s only donor. That group is backing Travis Leiker in the at-large City Council contest, while opposing Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca and council candidates Tiffany Caudill, Tony Pigford and Shontel Lewis. All four of those council candidates are endorsed by the Denver Democratic Socialists of America. The Colorado Sun considers political nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors to be dark-money groups. Colorado Dawn donated nearly $1.9 million to Republican state-level PACs last year.
  • The Denver Firefighters – IAFF Local 858, an independent expenditure committee named after the union, has spent $294,000 to support mayoral candidate Debbie Ortega, a Denver city councilwoman, as well as nine city council candidates. Forward Denver, a dark-money nonprofit, donated $200,000 of that money.
  • Forward Denver also donated $212,000 to Citizens for a Great Denver, which is supporting six city council candidates and $63,000 to Citizens for a Safer Denver, which opposes CdeBaca. Forward Denver is the only donor to those two PACs. Thus far, a total of $70,000 has been spent to oppose CdeBaca.
  • A Better Denver! — note the exclamation point, which makes the group different from the group supporting Brough — spent $31,000 on digital ads supporting state Sen. Chris Hansen in the mayor’s race. Of that, $16,000 came from American Energy Action. It’s unclear if the $16,000 was from American Energy Action’s federal political action committee or a dark-money group with the same name.

Here’s a look at the money being spent for and against candidates in the Denver election through Sunday.

Source link

The post Denver mayoral candidates raise $6.6 million for April 4 contest appeared first on Keelys News.

from Keelys News

Related Posts