DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s version of liberal super PACs spent nearly 150 times as much as their Republican counterparts in the last election cycle, state records show.
The Denver Post reported Sunday that spending by Democratic groups was about $4.24 million compared with $28,600 by Republican groups.
Democrats retained control of the governor’s mansion and the state Senate and lost the House by only one seat in the last election, despite a climate favoring Republicans.
The newspaper said it analyzed records required by a 2010 state law that mandates super PACs disclose their donors and spending.
Most of the Democratic money comes from unions, a few wealthy individuals and advocacy groups. The donors work together and pay for radio and TV ads, neighborhood canvassing, phone calls and direct mailings.
“We do what it takes to win day in and day out,” said Joan Fitz-Gerald, a former Colorado Senate president and now head of America Votes, a Washington, D.C., organization that coordinates election campaigns with 37 Colorado groups.
“We don’t stand alone in silos. We meet on a consistent basis. We understand each other’s issues and how to thread them together,” she said.
Republican groups tend not to coordinate their efforts as much, and some back only candidates with certain positions on social issues.
This year, they also face new redistricting boundaries drawn by Democrats.
“We’ve had a lot of chiefs trying to solve a lot of problems, but they aren’t well-coordinated,” said Colorado GOP consultant Katy Atkinson. “We need to get fed up with losing, like the Democrats did. But I don’t know if Republicans have hit bottom yet.”
Republican consultant Sean Tonner said it’s hard to get donors excited when their team is losing and struggling to recruit fresh candidates.
“Big donors got mad in ’06 and ’08. They are tired of the same people asking for money every cycle, especially when we aren’t winning,” he said.
Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call said he believes Republicans will have enough resources to compete this year.
“We will be able to draw contrasts,” he said. “We’re going to be aggressive under the First Amendment.”
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