Ad spending soars for Colorado gambling initiative

Photo: Amendment 68 advertisementMoney continued to pour into efforts to support or oppose expanded casino gambling in Colorado in the last two weeks.

The two sides battling over Amendment 68 now have raised $33 million and spent almost $29 million of that.

Monday was another deadline for candidates and committees to report contributions and spending between Aug. 28 and Sept. 10. Reports are due every two weeks until the Nov. 4 election.

Coloradans for Better Schools wants casino gambling allowed at horse tracks, and all of their $17 million comes from Mile High USA, which owns a track in Arapahoe County.

Don’t Turn Racetrack Into Casinos opposes the expansion, with that group’s $16 million coming from owners of existing casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

The two sides are spending money to reach voters through television ads and mailings.

Another ballot measure aimed at labeling food with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, also drew opposition funding in the most recent filing period. The No on 105 Coalition raised $1.6 million, with $500,000 of that coming from Pepsico. J.M. Smucker, ConAgra Foods and Smithfield Foods, among others also donated.

The group promoting the measure, Right to Know GMO, has raised about $200,000.

Parties kicking in

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and his Republican opponent Bob Beauprez received money from their respective political parties.

The Colorado Democratic Party put $39,000 into Hickenlooper’s campaign, while the Colorado Republican Committee donated more than $24,000 to Beauprez.

Hickenlooper still has a sizeable fundraising and spending lead over Beauprez. The Republican will need to either loan his campaign more money or pick up the fundraising pace to pay for the $1.2 million in TV ads he’s scheduled.

Here’s a look at the most recent fundraising numbers and the cash statewide candidates had as of Sept. 10:

And here are the totals raised and spent by the candidates: