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Council campaigns – where there’s smoke, there’s smoke!

Mon, Feb 18, 2013

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The mid-February campaign finance reports are in and given that ballots for the April 2 election will be mailed out in three weeks, they’re pretty illuminating. Reports cover a two-week period, typically between Jan. 31 and Feb. 15.

We’ll lead off with District 3, where former council member Tom Gallagher is opposing incumbent at-large councilor Brandy Williams and fellow former elected officials Keith King and Jim Bensberg. Gallagher is smokin’! He’s raised $3,450, almost all of it from the marijuana industry. Donors include Modern Medicine ($500), Indispensary ($500), Rocky Mountain Miracles ($500), and Rocky Road Remedies ($1,000).

Williams, King and Bensberg haven’t been idle. Williams reported raising $6,100 during the period, King $5,270, and Bensberg raked in $3,975. D-3 is shaping up to be a serious race – but right now Keith King has the upper hand in fundraising, thanks to having transferred more than $10,000 of leftover campaign funds from his last run for the state Legislature. You can bet that the other three are well aware of that edge, and will do what they can to match or overcome it.

In District 5, Jill Gaebler leads the pack with $4,975 in contributions. Her supporters include such notables as Laura Carno, Tracy Griggs, Kathy Loo and Janet Suthers. Al Loma took in $3,168, almost all of it in a single $2,500 contribution from the political action committee of the Housing and Building Association (HBA PAC). Bernie Herpin raised $1,053, including donations from Steve Durham, Bob Gardner and Terry Harris. Roger McCarville had no contributions.

With five candidates in the District 1 race, you’d expect that at least one would be furiously raising funds. Not so.

Tim Leigh raised $1,200, including a $1,000 contribution from Oakwood Homes. He previously received $2,500 from the HBA’s PAC, so it looks as if Tim’s accepting contributions rather than aggressively fundraising. That wouldn’t serve him well if he were facing the powerhouses in either District 3 or District 5, but his four competitors appear to be asleep at the wheel. Neither Julie Naye nor Linda Moyer filed a report, Joe Barrera raised nothing, and Don Knight raised $10. Meanwhile, the irrepressible Leigh is never out of the news, as he battles the forces of evil (e.g., Colorado Springs Utilities and the hapless Dave Neumann), sends out weekly newsletters calculated to amuse, outrage, or interest voters.

In District 2, Angela Dougan may have a fight on her hands. She’s run a model campaign so far, starting early, locking up the HBA endorsement and raising plenty of dough. You’d think that might have scared off any serious challengers, but Joel Miller and Bill Murray evidently sense weakness. AFA graduate/FedEx pilot Miller reports raising $4,625 in the period, while Murray contributed $5,500 to his own campaign. Dougan only raised $326 during the period, but she still has $5,700 in the bank. Given that Dougan won the seat in 2011 with 41 percent of the vote, she might not be as invulnerable as some believe.

In District 4, Helen Collins loaned her campaign $6,571.50, signaling her intention to wage a ferocious campaign against the HBA-anointed Deborah Hendrix. Neither Dennis Moore nor Gary Flakes raised significant funds, so the race may be between Hendrix and Collins. Hendrix raised $1,290 during during the period, including $1,000 from Oakwood Homes and $250 from David Jenkins.

Mirroring District 4, David Moore, the HBA’s choice in District 6, showed little ability to raise funds on his own. He reported receiving $1925, including $1,500 from Oakwood Homes and $250 from David Jenkins. Andres Pico reported $575 in contributions, while Ed Bircham, who previously loaned his campaign $5,000, had none.

And what about the HBA itself? The PAC reported doling out contributions of $2,500 to five of its six favored candidates, including Dougan, Leigh, Hendrix, Loma, and David Moore. They’ve yet to contribute to Keith King’s campaign, possibly because they believe that King can raise plenty of dough without their help. And let’s face it – the PAC’s coffers are scarcely full. As of February 15th, there was only $35,111 on hand – chump change as PACs go. Still, there may be more available from HBA members if the need arises.

As one seasoned political observer told me years ago,

“Just remember – everybody returns (HBA political Godfather) Ralph Braden’s calls.”

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mark Slaugh Says:

    John,

    Why the punny headline?

    I think it is note-worthy that we actually have a collection of small businesses in Colorado Springs who can actually muster up enough capital to support competitive candidates.

    The Housing sector has been on the decline as the MMJ industry has unprecedented growth during this dismal recession. With the looming A64 industry to come, these efforts are commendable and should be remembered, not ridiculed, in future elections to come.