Colorado's Tuesday primaries may not be attracting lots of attention from the public, but some races are getting a lot of interest from donors. The Stephens-Looper House race in east Colorado Springs and the White-Baumgardner Senate race in NW Colorado have brought in over $240,000 as of the most recent reporting.
Amy Stephens v Marsha Looper: Compare their votes on contested GOP bills
Representative Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, has put a big bet on herself; she has contributed over $60,000 to her own campaign. Her next largest contributors are dentists. She's received money from their PACs and from numerous individuals in the teeth business.
Looper has drilled House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-CoSpgs, for her leadership on the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange (SB11-200). She has also rebuffed Stephens for accusing her of supporting civil unions.
Civil Unions v Health Exchange
Stephens hit Looper hard on civil unions, accusing the Calhan rep of flip flopping. Looper's son is gay, which was recently made public in the press. As to the health exchange, Stephens claims businesses really like "Amycare." Her contributions suggest she's right.
Her work on SB-200 has garnered lots of dollars from business interests, including Friends of Colorado Hospitals ($400) and the Colorado Medical Society ($1000). The traditional energy industry has kicked in numerous $400 checks and realtors pitched in a helpful $4500.
Compared to Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch), Looper is more anti-government or anti-business than Stephens, depending on a voter's orientation. Looper voted against a number of economic development bills designed to help the Colorado job market.
Neither candidate voted McNulty's way with great fidelity. Taking House bills in which either one and/or the other voted against McNulty, Stephens voted McNulty's way 59 percent of the time and Looper voted with the Speaker 42 percent of the time.
So far, Stephens has collected $79,373 and Looper has collected and pitched in herself $91,804. While Looper has more money, Stephens has more connections. If the tea party turns out in droves, Looper wins; if Stephens can get her pro-business base out, she wins.
White v Baumgardner - Compare their votes on contested bills
The White-Baumgardner race is somewhat less expensive, but Sen. Jean White, R-Steamboat, has used her money pulling power collecting $55,630. Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, has pulled in less than half the dollars of White at $21,373.76.
Baumgardner may be burdened by the recent revelation that a registered sex offender is working and living on his property, or perhaps his anti-business votes have cut into his popularity with that community. Like Looper, Baumgardner rejected bills that would put tax dollars into economic development, appealing to the teaparty sector but disappointing business.
Baumgardner has ginned up money from his local base of ranchers. White has plenty of locals too, but also broad-based support from lobbyists and numerous association groups and PACs. White voted with McNulty 53 percent and Baumgardner 38 percent. Democrat Mark Ferrandino, Denver, voted with McNulty more often at 61 percent. In this race, advantage White. PEN CCW