Financial Arms Race Intensifies As Colorado Governor’s Primary Enters Final Phase

Chart: June 19 Governor primary money

It is an unprecedented sum in campaign contributions: $34.5 million and counting in contributions and loans in the primary race for governor of Colorado.

Wealthy candidates and benefactors are digging deep for the stretch run. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis continues his shocking spending spree: the Democrat added another $726,341 since the last reporting period, bringing his total to $11.3 million. That’s almost as much as his three other Democratic challengers (and their PACs) combined.

Polis remarked last night during a debate that you shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to run for governor. Maybe you just have to know a millionaire, or a billionaire in the case of former state Sen. Mike Johnston. The Democrat roped in another $1 million from former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Between Johnston’s PAC, Frontier Fairness, and his own campaign fundraising, he’s the closest to challenging Polis for the money lead.

Former state treasurer Cary Kennedy, the PAC supporting her, and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne didn’t register big contributions in the last reporting period, and they are both much further behind Johnston and Polis in terms of money.

Not to be outdone by the Democrats, Republicans are spending a lot of their own money too in the final weeks of the campaign. Victor Mitchell loaned his campaign another $900,000. The businessman has loaned himself about $5 million in campaign funds.

Republican Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the frontrunner in polls, also dipped into his own pockets to the tune of about half a million in the last reporting period. He’s given his campaign $1 million total.

Stapleton and Mitchell’s largess dwarfs their other two challengers Doug Robinson and Greg Lopez. Robinson has raised a total of $1.2 million between his PAC and his campaign. And Greg Lopez, the only candidate to not surpass the $1 million mark, has raised only $61,729.