Last week, the New York Times raised some eyebrows with its analysis of political donations already pouring into the 2016 presidential race – and specifically – the conclusion that a scant 158 families have accounted for nearly half of the money raised. And where does Colorado fall on the list? The Centennial State rated just one mention – Pat Stryker – heiress to the a multi-billion dollar fortune created by her grandfather, who founded the medical technology company that still bears his name. Stryker, so far, has given $750,000 to liberal candidates, which puts her in the top half of the pack at number 63 (out of 158).
A strong majority of the overall funds reviewed were pledged to support Republican candidates, or more specifically, Super PACs that are aligned with conservative principles (138 for Republicans – 20 for Democrats). This makes a lot of sense considering the fact that a strong majority of the donors were self-made, while just 37 inherited their wealth (we’re going to guess that most of those donated to Democratic causes).
Furthermore, it seems to be the overreach of a rapidly growing government sector and regualtory regime, crippling economic growth, that is prompting these families to write six- and seven-figure checks. Donor Doug Deason, who agreed to be interviewed for the Times story, said, “it’s a lot of families around the country who are self made who feel like over-regulation puts these burdens on smaller companies.”
Stryker’s clout in the early primary season should not come to much of a surprise to students of Colorado politics. She was one a member of the “Gang of Four,” a group of wealthy Coloradans who aimed to drastically shift the state’s political landscape more than a decade ago when they joined forces to lend support to a number of groups that focused on liberal social issues, and quickly changed how campaign dollars were raised and spent in Colorado.
But, next time Democrats screech about big money in politics, particularly in Colorado, feel free to remind them that they could always ask Pat Stryker to stop contributing excess amounts of cash to left-leaning candidates.