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Greg Lopez tv ad
A screenshot of an ad criticizing GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez as too conservative, paid for by Democrats.

The Democratic Governors Association is financing a group running TV ads boosting the profile of Greg Lopez, one of two Republican candidates for governor in Colorado. 

The DGA donated $1.5 million to Strong Colorado for All in recent weeks. That state-level super PAC then donated $600,000 to Colorado Information Network, another state-level super PAC that began airing the ads last week. The $600,000 is the only contribution Colorado Information Network reported in a filing made Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Colorado Information Network booked at least $915,000 worth of TV ads featuring Lopez to run through the June 28 primary. The group reported about $401,000 of that spending in its Monday report. 

The ads stress Lopez’s conservative credentials on abortion, gay marriage and former President Donald Trump. 

“Greg Lopez holds views that are too extreme and out-of-touch for Colorado,” DGA spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said. “Voters need to know what he believes in, what he would push on the state, and just how dangerous of a governor he could be.”

Although the ad features ominous music and concludes by saying that Lopez is “too conservative for Colorado,” it appears aimed at swaying conservative Republicans to select him over University of Colorado regent Heidi Ganahl in the gubernatorial primary.

Lopez and Ganahl aren’t household names in Colorado, meaning that if voters are more familiar with one candidate than the other they may be more likely to vote for that person. 

Meanwhile, a nonprofit named Colorado Voter Guides, formed by the liberal nonprofit ProgressNow Colorado, sent a mailer comparing Lopez’s position on abortion to that of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. The mailer appears to be another effort to raise Lopez’s profile.

Neither the mailer nor the TV ads directly suggest voting for Lopez.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Heidi Ganahl, left, and Greg Lopez. (Colorado Sun photos)

It isn’t the only spending in high-profile GOP primaries that appears to be coming from Democratic interests. A federal super PAC is spending $1.3 million to boost state Rep. Ron Hanks in his U.S. Senate contest against businessman Joe O’Dea. And unidentified groups are sending mailers that boost Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine in the four-way 8th Congressional District GOP primary.

The DGA is the largest donor to Strong Colorado for All, which says it advocates for Democratic statewide and legislative candidates. The DGA previously donated $75,000 to the PAC, while Education Reform Now Advocacy gave $150,000, Hasan Management gave $100,000 and Denver businessman Larry Mizel, who traditionally backs Republican candidates and causes, gave $25,000.

Strong Colorado for All has reserved $347,000 in TV ad time for the fall, though it isn’t clear which races the money is aimed at.

Colorado Information Network was created in September 2018 and spent about $320,000 that year supporting Democrats in the general election. Its money came from nonprofit News for Democracy, a group that spent heavily on digital advertising to support Democrats in 2018.

The DGA also helped push GOP candidate Dan Maes across the primary finish line in 2010, but failed in an effort to help former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez in 2014. Both Republicans ended up losing to former Gov. John Hickenlooper, now a Democratic U.S. senator.

Special to The Colorado Sun
Twitter: @fishnette