Democratic statewide candidates use fundraising advantage to spend big on ads in Colorado
(Colorado Newsline) With a bit over one month until Election Day — and less than two weeks until ballots start heading out to voters — Colorado Republican candidates are spending small fractions of what their deep-pocketed Democratic opponents are.
Democrats are using their stacked campaign funds to pay for television and digital advertisements in the lead-up to the election, while Republicans are sticking to more affordable merchandise and printed materials. Incumbent Democrats Gov. Jared Polis, Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser all have at least one television advertisement airing. Republican Heidi Ganahl launched her first television ad this week.
Polis spent $2.4 million on media buys in the last two weeks of September, according to two campaign finance reports that were filed on Sept. 19 and on Tuesday. Polis’s campaign also spent $1.2 million on digital advertising. He spent $3.8 million total in September.
Polis put in another $4 million of his own cash into his reelection campaign in September, bringing his total self-funding to over $11 million. He had about $3.5 million in his campaign bank account at the end of September.
That is less than half of the $23.4 million he spent in 2018, but his opponent this time around, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, is spending less than the Republican nominee Walker Stapleton did in 2018, and Polis has the incumbent’s advantage of widespread name recognition. Stapleton’s campaign spent over $4 million in the 2018 election cycle, while Ganahl’s campaign has spent about $1.8 million so far.
Ganahl’s campaign reported bringing in about $307,000 and spending about $207,000 in September. Additionally, she also loaned her campaign $400,000. She spent about $9,000 on space buys in various print media, $12,000 on fly-over banners, about $17,000 on signs and $3,000 on telemarketing.
She has about $936,000 in campaign funds.
Ganahl is getting a boost from Deep Colorado Wells, a committee formed by Weld County rancher Steve Wells. The committee spent nearly $2 million on election communication during the reporting period, including $1.5 million in television commercials — the first batch supporting Ganahl and opposing Polis and a second wave supporting both Ganahl and Attorney General candidate John Kellner and opposing both of their Democratic opponents.
The committee has spent over $2 million since forming over the summer, almost all of it in support of Ganahl or in opposition to Polis.
The partisan raising and spending trends continue into down-ballot statewide races. Griswold reported raising about $313,000 during the month and spending about $685,000. She spent about $200,000 on digital advertising and $370,000 on television advertisements. Griswold’s campaign has two television advertisements so far, including a bilingual spot set to start airing this week.
Her Republican challenger, Pam Anderson, raised about $52,000 and spent a comparatively tiny $12,000 during September. Her expenditures included physical marketing materials akin to Ganahl’s campaign with about $2,700 on signs and about $1,000 on card handouts.
In the attorney general’s race, Weiser raised about $265,000 and spent about $430,000, including about $347,000 on advertising.
John Kellner, the Republican challenger, reported raising about $83,000 and spending about $30,000. Over $14,000 of that went to various consultants.
Incumbent treasurer Democrat Dave Young brought in about $63,000 and spent about $12,000 in September. Republican candidate Lang Sias raised about $28,000 and spent $443, entirely on credit card processing fees.
There are two more financial filing deadlines for statewide candidates before Election Day.