GOP governor candidate pumps millions into race
Don’t call Victor Mitchell the Jared Polis of Colorado political campaigning.
Instead, the businessman who’s loaned more than $3 million to his bid for the GOP nomination for governor prefers to be known as “the nice Trump.”
Like the current president who self-funded much of his primary race, Polis, a multimillionaire Democrat who also is running for governor next year, has long been known as someone not shy about putting money into his own political races.
Mitchell has followed that same pattern in his bid to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.
“It’s probably just a down payment,” Mitchell said after addressing the Mesa County Republican Women monthly luncheon Monday. “Anything worth doing costs money.”
Mitchell said he needs that money because of the intense competition he faces.
“We’re competing against a government lawyer who’s been in front of the camera for six years to politicize a tragedy of our state,” Mitchell said. “I’m competing against George Bush’s cousin. I’m competing against Mitt Romney’s nephew. So, of course, we’re going to have to put money in, but the flip side to that is I’m not indebted to anybody.”
In this order, Mitchell was referring to:
■ 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican who led the prosecution against James Holmes last year in the Aurora theater shooting.
■ Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, whose mother, Dorothy Walker Stapleton, is the first cousin of former President George H. W. Bush, and second cousin of former President George W. Bush.
■ GOP businessman Doug Robinson, whose uncle, Mitt Romney, was the GOP nominee for president in 2012 and a former governor of Massachusetts.
Though Stapleton has not officially entered the race — when asked when he will do so, he will only say “soon” — Mitchell was highly critical of him, saying Stapleton has been using his role as state treasurer to run for governor.
“Stapleton has been running for four years,” Mitchell said. “He’s been doing unethical fundraising that’s basically just down and out wrong. He’s giving political speeches wherever he goes. He’s raising unlimited sums. It’s everything that’s wrong with our political discourse today.”
There is no evidence, however, that Stapleton is raising money.
According to his official campaign committee for state treasurer, Stapleton for Colorado, Stapleton hasn’t raised a dime since February 2015. That account, which he’s diligently maintained on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, only lists $12,129 in cash on hand.
Mitchell, on the other hand, has nearly $1 million more in cash than all the other candidates combined, including Polis, who’s donated about $254,000 to his own campaign.
Mitchell and Polis aren’t the only candidates to donate or loan money to themselves. Robinson has loaned himself $57,000, while fellow Republican Greg Lopez has put $6,000 into his campaign. Meanwhile, Democrat Noel Ginsburg has loaned himself $100,000.
Still, in Trump-like fashion, Mitchell bragged about his donors.
“In the last quarter, we reported over 160 individual small donations without doing a single fundraising event and we’re still taking in donations every day,” Mitchell said. “Most of our donations are coming from people that have never given to a candidate before. I know my opponents are spending all of their time with big-dollar donors. That’s just not my (modus operandi).”