Because of a quirk in the state’s campaign finance laws, declared candidates in races that will be decided in 2018 are required to file Major Contributor Reports for large donations right now. The law states that 30 days ahead of an election, these reports have to be filed. For Governor candidates, a $1,000 donation triggers the report, and the report must be filed within 24 hours of receiving the donation.
Normally this covers contributions ahead of the primary and general election that the person will compete in, but because there is an election in Colorado this November, candidates are required to file the report.
This requirement gives the public an interesting intraperiod glimpse into fundraising activities, and nothing has been more interesting than the sheer velocity of contributions that are flowing into the Stapleton campaign. The candidate is filing Major Contributor Reports daily, even on Saturdays and Sundays. An overwhelming majority of these reports show more than one donor, and some have upwards of $50,000 in total donations on one report.
Furthermore, the names reported in Stapleton’s filings are a who’s who of real estate, finance, energy, sports, and philanthropy in the state. To give you some context, Stapleton raised more money just from donors that trigger these filings within the past week as George Brauchler, who led the R governor pack in Q3 fundraising, raised in total throughout the entire third quarter.
Since Q3 reports were filed this month, Doug Robinson filed seven Major Contributor Reports, Brauchler filed zero and Victor Mitchell filed zero.
Money doesn’t always equal votes, as we saw with Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign – a Denver resident contributing the maximum amount has a vote that is worth just as much as someone who doesn’t have two pennies to rub together, but it sure is important when it comes to communicating your message to voters.
Stapleton, along with Mitchell’s personal war chest and the funds that Brauchler and Robinson can come up with, are going to make this one of the most expensive Republican governor primaries in the state’s history.