Campaign Finance Reports Indicate Pricey Ballot Battles Ahead

Colorado voters could face some very long ballots this November, as supporters and opponents of numerous measures step up their game. All of them had to file quarterly campaign finance reports by midnight Monday. Here's a look at what some of those numbers suggest for the coming campaigns.

Energy: Oil and gas companies were the biggest spenders in the latest campaign finance reports, contributing $6.3 million to their pro-energy group as they gear up to fight several measures to ban or curtail fracking that could make the ballot in November.  Organizations supporting those initiatives meanwhile have raised less than $20,000.

Beer sales: Expect to hear a lot on the airwaves in coming months about a state ballot measure allowing grocery stores to sell full-strength beer and wine.  Your Choice Colorado, a coalition of grocery stores, raised $4.2 million dollars for its campaign.  But opponents were not far behind. Groups funded by independent liquor stores raised more than $3 million.  And millions of dollars from both groups are already earmarked for advertising.

Single-payer healthcare: The group fighting a proposed single-payer health system for the state has raised more than $1 million so far this year -- half that from the insurance giant Anthem.  Backers of the Colorado Care ballot measure didn’t file by the Monday deadline blaming difficulties uploading information to the state’s website. The group says it took in more than 1,200 contributions totaling $153,000.

Cultural tax: Denver-area voters will have to decide this fall whether to renew the region's cultural tax. To date, the effort to keep the seven-county sales tax has raised more than $1.6 million -- more than many statewide ballot campaigns.  Last year, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District handed out more than $50 million to around 270 organizations. 

Minimum wage, tax refunds: Backers of ballot measure supporting a minimum wage increase raised more than $400,000. A group that wants the state to be able to keep future Taxpayer's Bill of Rights refunds brought in a quarter-million dollars. And there might be less on the ballot in the future if a group dedicated to making it harder to amend the state constitution succeeds with their measure. They raised $131,000.

Grace Hood, Ben Markus, John Daley, Corey Jones and Megan Verlee contributed to this report.