DENVER (AP) – Two groups that supported the re-election of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper were the biggest donors to players in last year’s state-level elections, according to a new analysis of campaign finance data by the Center for Public Integrity.
The report found that the Democratic Governors Association contributed $6.5 million while Making Colorado Great, a pro-Hickenlooper committee, donated another $2.4 million. Hickenlooper defeated Republican Bob Beauprez in November’s election.
The total dwarfs that of the next three top donors in Colorado. Priorities for Colorado, a political action committee run by the state Republican party, gave nearly $2 million. The Republican Attorneys General Association, which backed newly-elected Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, donated $1.5 million. Education Reform Now, a liberal group, contributed $830,000.
Colorado’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner attracted the most money of any campaign in the state last year, but the Center for Public Integrity data looked only at races for state office. It analyzed donations to candidates, political parties and independent groups that support or oppose candidates.
The totals come from disclosures made by candidates and state political parties, as well as state and federal records of 140 independent groups that spent money on television ads during the election cycle.
The analysis does not count direct spending on a race – for example, money used to buy a TV ad that tells voters it was sponsored by the Republican Governors Association. Rather, the study looked at donations to candidates and groups, who then use that money for such spending. Because of that it offers only a partial view of the use of political money during the 2014 contest; the RGA, for example, spent millions on ads against Hickenlooper.
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