Filings show who’s gaining traction in guv’s race

There may be two dozen candidates in the race for governor, but less than half of them are bothering to raise money, according to second-quarter campaign finance reports.

Not counting the $3 million loan that Republican Victor Mitchell put into his own campaign, the candidate who has done the best so far is Democrat Michael Johnston, a former state senator from Denver.

Johnston, one of the first serious candidates to get into the race, pulled in more than $301,000 since his last filing in April.

While that wasn’t the most of all the candidates, he still has more cash on hand than any other Democrat.

Mitchell, who represented Castle Rock in the Colorado House in 2007-08, loaned his campaign more than $3 million almost immediately after getting into the race in February. Since then, he’s raised among the least of the 11 candidates who asked for contributions.

His $11,796 in donations is only slightly better than that of fellow Republicans Lew Gaiter ($6,270), and Greg Lopez ($3,413). Republican Stephen Barlock entered the race for the GOP nomination only recently, and wasn’t required to file a campaign finance report with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office by Monday’s midnight deadline.

Johnston, who served eight years in the Colorado Senate until term limits forced him out of office last year, didn’t do nearly as well in the second quarter in raising money as he did in the first, when he pulled in a whopping $632,721 back in April.

“My refusal to accept PAC money, and the fact that I cannot simply write a personal check to fund this campaign, places a premium on grassroots fundraising,” Johnston said.

In her first filing, Cary Kennedy rivaled U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat who some saw as the front runner until U.S. Rep. Jared Polis entered the fray. Perlmutter has since departed the race, saying he didn’t have enough fire in his belly to compete.

Kennedy, a former Colorado treasurer and deputy mayor of Denver, pulled in $338,353 since entering the race not long after Perlmutter got into the race in April.

While many are expecting Polis, a self-made multi-millionaire, to put some of his own money in his race, he has, about $255,000 worth. Altogether, he’s raised $274,055.

The final Democrat in the race, Noel Ginsburg, reported raising $92,657, $10,000 of which he listed as an in-kind contribution from the Colorado Democratic Party. While that may seem unusual, parties generally don’t donate money in primary races, this was for a “voter file” that all party candidates have access to. That file contains information about voter registrations and donation histories, and are used to help candidates raise funds.

On the Republican side, Doug Robinson, a nephew of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, raised the most, $207,532. Not far behind is Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who pulled in $183,398.


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