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Politics and Government

George Soros, Tom Steyer enter Colorado governor’s race to help Democrat Jared Polis

The outside money is being sent to Good Jobs Colorado, which is attacking Republican Walker Stapleton

  • Credibility:

Democrat Jared Polis put another $200,000 into his campaign in the past two weeks, a relatively low sum for the self-funded gubernatorial candidate and multimillionaire. But his campaign is getting a boost from liberal mega-donors George Soros and Tom Steyer.

Polis is still setting records with nearly $19 million raised for his gubernatorial contest versus Republican Walker Stapleton, the state treasurer. Of that, about $18.7 million came from Polis’ deep pockets.

Other Democratic candidates in statewide races and four key Senate seats also are outraising their Republican opponents, based on reports filed Monday covering Aug. 30 through Sept. 12.

In fact, Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser outraised Stapleton for the third straight reporting period.

Polis spent $1.4 million on media buys, including $500,000 on social media. Stapleton spent only $42,000 over the past two weeks, mostly on consulting.

But the real campaign cash story may be in what outside groups are raising and spending to influence the governor’s contest. Among the revelations from the past two weeks:

  • Colorado Fair Share Action spent $304,000 knocking on doors in support of Polis, bringing its total spending on canvassing to nearly $604,000. The money comes from a nonprofit of the same name, which originated in Colorado. The national group has in the past been funded by Colorado philanthropist Tim Gill and environmental groups.
  • Better Colorado Now, the original super PAC supporting Stapleton spent $200,000 on canvassing for the Republican and nearly $232,000 on mailers and other ads against Polis. The nonprofit Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund gave Better Colorado $600,000. Because the Taxpayers’ Advocate Fund is a nonprofit, it is virtually impossible to know where the money is coming from.
  • The Republican Governors Association sank another $1.6 million into efforts to oppose Polis and support Stapleton. That group reported spending $1.1 million on negative TV advertising over two weeks.
  • Good Jobs Colorado spent about $463,000 on TV ads opposing Stapleton in the last two weeks. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a liberal nonprofit, put $920,000 into Good Jobs, while State Victory Action, a group funded by billionaires Soros and NextGen Climate Action, an organization aligned with Steyer, donated $500,000.
  • Colorado Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity spent $450,000 on TV ads supporting Stapleton. That money came from Workforce Fairness, an anti-union nonprofit that has donated a total of $810,000 to Jobs and Opportunity thus far.

Meanwhile, money continues to pour into some of the committees supporting or opposing ballot measures:

  • Protect Colorado raised another $7.6 million from oil and gas interests, bringing its total to $28.7 million. The group has $10 million in the bank, and is airing plenty of TV ads opposing Proposition 112, which would require oil and gas development to be at least 2,500 from homes, schools, businesses and other vulnerable areas. The Colorado Petroleum Council donated nearly $4 million over the past two weeks.
  • Colorado Rising for Health and Safety, the group behind Prop 112, raised only $25,000 in the last two weeks, and has only about $23,000 in cash.
  • Coloradans for Coloradans raised more than $401,000, including $354,000 from the National Association of Realtors. The group spent $500,000 on TV ads supporting Proposition 110, which would raise sales taxes to pay for transportation.
  • Fair Maps Colorado raised nearly $354,000 and spent $269,000 on TV ads two support two constitutional amendments creating commissions for legislative and congressional redistricting. That group received $200,000 from the National Education Association and $100,000 from the Colorado Economic Leadership Fund.

Candidates and committees must file campaign finance reports every two weeks until the Nov. 6 election.

Updated 7:30 a.m. Sept. 19, 2018: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the ballot proposition that Coloradans for Coloradans is opposing. The group opposes Proposition 110.