Saira Rao says U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette has been in office so long — nearly 22 years — that she is out of touch with Democrats, and suggests the Denver liberal is beholden to special interests because of the hefty PAC contributions the incumbent receives.
Rao entered the race to challenge DeGette last month, and her campaign is now bragging they’ve received 500 donations from individuals, no PACs.
We’ve no real way of knowing whether Rao is a legitimate threat to DeGette — Rao’s campaign won’t say how much money they’ve raised except that it’s in the six figures.
But Rao’s insistence on refusing PAC dollars and labeling DeGette as the old Democratic establishment prompted us to take a look at DeGette’s fundraising report, last filed on Dec. 31.
Rao is right. More than half of the money DeGette has raised for this year’s election comes from PACs — 53 percent, from more than 150 donations.
The bulk of them are business PACs, 90 percent, and 8.23 percent comes from labor. The remaining 1.43 percent comes from liberal ideology groups, according to Open Secrets.
Although DeGette raised more than $428,000, she only had $66,000 on hand as of the filing for the rest of the campaign.
If those 500 contributions to Rao are more than $10 or $20 a pop, she stands a good chance of launching a serious challenge against DeGette, who has been distracted of late.
DeGette and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz are still dealing with the federal investigation into their former IT staffer who may have stolen sensitive congressional information.
The staffer, Imran Awan, has already been indicted for bank fraud while employed by Democrats. The investigation into the harm he may have caused while he had access to the Democrats’ government computers is still ongoing.