Show me the money! Sluggish fundraising from council candidates

Mon, Feb 4, 2013



As predicted, April’s council elections may have a few surprises. So far, there are 19 official candidates for the six districts seats in play. Four incumbents are in the race: Tim Leigh in District 1, Angela Dougan in District 2, Brandy William in District 3, and Bernie Herpin in District 5.

Here’s the rundown.

District 1: Tim Leigh has yet to officially kick off his campaign, but he’s collected signatures and submitted his paperwork, and is now an official candidate. He’ll be opposed by political novices Don Knight and Julie Naye. Sarah Jack, who has managed dozens of campaigns during the past two decades, is working for Knight, so his promises to be a serious effort. Although Knight has yet to raise any money, he’s seeded the campaign with $1,500 from his pocket.

District 2: Incumbent Angela Dougan will face Bill Murray and Joel Miller. Dougan’s campaign is already in high gear – at least, as measured by campaign contributions. So far she’s raised more than $15,000. Recent contributions include $2,500 from the Housing & Building Association, $1,000 from Comcast, and $250 from Phil Lane.

District 3: Former council member Tom Gallagher has entered the fray, making it a four-way contest between Gallagher, former County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, former State Sen. Keith King, and incumbent council member Brandy Williams. King and Bensberg are furiously raising money, clearly expecting a spirited, expensive race. Bensberg reported $3,200 in contributions received between 1/15 and 1/31, including $500 from Jeffrey Sveinsson, $500 from Don Riggle, and $100 each from Tom Osborne and Berry Craddock. King raised $3,080 during the same period, including $100 from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and $250 from Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin. Williams reported raising only $300, and Gallagher has yet to raise or spend any money.

Gallagher’s motives for entering the race at this late date are murky at best. As a seasoned old pol, he must know that his chances aren’t great, so why bother? Maybe he simply can’t acknowledge that time may have passed him by – but the same might be said of King and Bensberg. If he stays in the race, and Williams buckles down, raises money, and runs a powerful campaign, she’s got a great chance. There’s some evidence that she already has – an industrial-size sign touting her candidacy appeared yesterday near the intersection of Mesa and Uintah. But she’ll have to keep it up – the industrious King already has similar signs a few yards away, as well a big one on private land at the intersection of 21st and Highway 24.

District 4: Deborah Hendrix, Dennis Moore, and Gary Flakes are official candidates. Flakes and Moore have only a few hundred dollars between the two of them, but Hendrix is off to a running start. In the 1/15 – 1/31 period, she raised $3,250 from three contributors. The HBA wrote her a check for $2,500, Talph Braden kicked in $250, and Nancy Brown contributed $500.

District 5: It’s another four-way, this one featuring Jill Gaebler, Bernie Herpin, Al Loma, and Roger McCarville. Somewhat to the surprise of seasoned political observers, Loma won the HBA’s endorsement. He has yet to report any contributions. Roger McCarville hasn’t raised any money, but he has loaned his campaign $1,500. Bernie Herpin raised $2,515 during the reporting period, including $50 from County Commissioner Sallie Clark and $1,000 from spouse Linda. Jill Gaebler raised $1,300, including $750 from former city council member/philanthropist Kathy Loo and $150 from attorney Jennifer George.

District 6: Ed Bircham, David Moore, and Andres Pico are all official candidates. Moore, the HBA’s designee, reported a single contribution: $2,500 from the HBA. Ed Bircham, who previously loaned his campaign $5,000, had no contributions. Pico gave his campaign $205.

Other than Dougan and King (who had previously transferred over $10,000 left over from his legislative campaigns to his council campaign), none of the candidates have yet raised the kind of money that a fiercely competitive race might require. And they don’t have much time to do so – the ballots will be mailed out in six weeks. Even at this level, winning isn’t cheap. My guess is that serious candidates should raise at least $15,000 to stay in the game, especially in Districts five and three.

Ladies and gentlemen, imagine yourself at the roulette wheel in Monte Carlo. Listen to the croupier:

“Messieurs et Mesdames, faites vos jeux. Les jeux sont fait. Rien ne va plus.” Place your bets. The bets are down. No more bets.

It’s romantic and exciting, and you don’t have to be James Bond. You don’t have to speak French. You only need the the cash to bet – so show me the money!

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Rick Wehner Says:

    “Always Buy Colorado”
    “Support Local Business”

    Could a clue as to how serious a candidate is about supporting local economic development be where, and from what state, candidates are buying yard signs and other related promotional campaign expenses?

    Yard signs purchased in Austin or Nebraska seem to create little work, production or revenue for Colorado Spring nor much of a sense of hometown pride?

  2. RJF Says:

    “Candidate endorsed by the HBA … Vote the other way!” Of all the incumbents running Dougan has done a terrible job … oh I forgot … she is Mayor Bach’s puppet! Sorry for the redundancy. {For those not playing at home — Bach = puppet = terrible job!}