Friday, April 6, 2007

Campaign contributions

The candidates have filed their March 2007 campaign finance reports, and the results are unsurprising.

Mayor John Hickenlooper has the most money by far, with nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions. Other candidates with deep pockets include Councilman Charlie Brown, Auditor Dennis Gallagher, Councilman Michael Hancock, Councilman Judy Montero, and Councilman Carol Boigon - all with more than $100,000 in contributions so far.

Unsurprisingly, all but one of the above (Boigon) lack any serious competition.

Also unsurprisingly, the best way to get elected is to already be elected. Incumbent City Council members have raised an average of $88,676. Their direct challengers have raised an average of $2,353.

Challengers thus not only face the battle of name recognition, but also must overcome the 40-to-1 disadvantage in contributions necessary to get their names known. (Nor can it be said that the Denver media helps in this regard. No wonder Denver municipal elections have a slightly higher rate of re-election than in the old Soviet Duma.)

As for the open City Council seats, Council District 7 is the most competitive with $146,681 raised by current and expired candidacies. By contrast, Council District 8 has managed only $67,395 and Council District 3 will be the cheapest seat in the house at a combined total of just $28,634.

Further analysis will be forthcoming, but in the meantime enjoy the numbers below and visit the Denver City Clerk's campaign finance site online for more detailed information.
AS OF 03/31/07

Council District 1
Rick Garcia $75,830.00

Council District 2
Jeanne Ryan Faatz $20,680.00

Council District 3
Paul E Lopez $15,595.00
Ben Romero $7,994.57
Mark Gerard Roggeman $2,100.00
JoAnn Phillips $2,050.00
Kathy E Sandoval $895.00
Niccolo Casewit $0
Antoinette Alire $0

Council District 4
Peggy Lehmann $47,510.00
William Arthur Rutherford III $6,088.29
Ike Kelley Jr $0

Council District 5
Marcia Johnson $63,781.83
Mitchell Poindexter $3,550.00
Ronald J Ours Jr $325.00

Council District 6
Charlie Brown $164,546.00

Council District 7
Chris Nevitt $65,208.63
Rochelle Watters $52,723.00
Julie Ann Connor $21,800.00
Dennis Smith $0

Council District 8
Darrell B Watson $31,554.91
Carla Ann Madison $26,385.99
Sharon Bailey $9,365.00
Greg Rasheed $0

Council District 9
Judy H Montero $128,565.00
Waldo Benevidez $0

Council District 10
Jeanne Robb $44,567.00

Council District 11
Michael Hancock $130,700.00

Council At Large
Carol Ann Spickler Boigon $125,120.78
Doug Linkhart $85,460.00
Carol E Campbell $8,858.38

Clerk & Recorder
Stephanie O'Malley $20,020.00
Jacob Werther $450.00

Dennis Gallagher $136,854.57
Bill Wells $0

John Hickenlooper $592,860.06
Danny Lopez $0

UPDATE (04/09): This posting originally indicated that Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz had $77,008, but that number is incorrect. Councilwoman Faatz explained that her financial disclosure for 2006 unwittingly included more than $56,000 in financial contributions for the 2003 race. Her subsequent January 2007 disclosure and the amended January 2007 disclosure both indicated a revised figure of $0 for that time period. Her February and March disclosures followed the same form, indicating that her campaign has raised a total of $20,680 instead of $77,008. It seems to Denver Politics that the Faatz campaign would still need to submit a revised form for 2006, because that report remains in error... and a rather significant error at that. However, we're not experts in campaign finance, and so have updated our figures above to match the campaign's internal figures.


Jennifer said...

So interesting that unopposed candidates have amassed funding larger than total contributions to all candidates for contested District seats. What do unopposed candidates DO with all that money??

In a cursory attempt to answer my own question, under the Denver
Municipal Code
there are no spending limits on campaign contributions. The use of contributions is restricted to purposes "reasonably related to influencing an election, to voter registration, or to political education."

Also, contribution limits don't apply to a candidate's personal contributions to his or her own campaign.

Under the Colorado "Fair Campaign Practices Act", there are restrictions on unexpended campaign contributions, but it doesn't appear that the Act applies to local elections and candidates.

So I am still left wondering what the unopposed candidates do with all this money? The reports required under the Code don't disclose how candidates spend their contributions. So much for transparency and openness in the political process.

Dave Burrell said...


A very astute and informative post. I would also direct folks to the specific sections in the Denver Revised Municipal Code regarding campaign finance, as outlined in the DRMC document provided by the Clerk's office.

The only correction I would make is that candidates are required to indicate where they spend their contributions. That information is revealed in Form B of the candidate disclosure forms. For instance, Shelly Watter's March 2007 disclosure shows that not only did she spend more money than came in, but about $11,000 of that went to perhaps Denver's biggest consulting firm, The Kenney Group.

Richard said...

As Carol e Campbell's campaign treasurer I am proud that nearly 60% of the money we have raised so far has been from the sale of soup bowls. Carol and a bunch of her artist friends painted some ordinary soup bowls and we sold a bunch at a March 12 fundraiser at the Grant-Humphries mansion and we continue to sell them on the internet. You may think of our fundraising strategy as an old-fashioned bake sale, the proceeds of which goes to campaign materials that a group of committed volunteers have been distributing around the city by foot as we can not afford postage let alone media buys. We do not plan on raising a lot of money, but we are committed to paying for all our expenses and living within our means.

Years ago, I worked on campaigns such as Governor Romer's that were well-funded with a candidate far ahead in the polls. It is much more fun working for a candidate with no money in a long-shot race.

Thanks for your time,
Rick Taylor