Republican candidates who so far have shown an inability to raise funds are getting support from the most unlikely source: Democratic Super PACs.
Ad spending for Republican Party primary candidates in Colorado by Democratic Super PACs exceeds $1.5 million, according to a Colorado Sun report, and the Republican National Senate Committee places spending for the U.S. Senate Republican primary in the Colorado at $1 million, more than the $850,000. reported by the Washington Times.
“It is an insult to Colorado voters who will not fall for this deceptive and dark interference in our elections,” said Colorado Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown.
The ad supposedly buys “opposing” a candidate in a contested two-race primary: the US Senate and the governor of Colorado. The ads define U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks and gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez as “too conservative for Colorado,” after pointing out their positions that may appeal to some Republican circles.
In theory, electing a more far-right candidate in the Republican primary could make it easier for Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in the statewide general election.
Bennet and Polis aren’t helped by polls that find Americans unhappy with the country’s leadership, a stance that isn’t likely to change anytime soon with high gas prices, rising food prices and energy-related goods. inflation, supply chain shortages, soft border security and at every turn a crisis for President Joe Biden. Real Clear Politics has the Colorado governor and U.S. Senate races leaning toward the Democrats, but the average of all polls on the country’s leadership under Democratic leadership is 71.3% on the wrong track. Real Clear Politics’ average approval rating for Biden shows 55% disapproval and 39.7% approval.
The best chance for Bennet and Polis could be a far from good opponent that could allow them to campaign as moderates, leading to Super PAC ad funding.
“This attempt at black money just underscores how vulnerable Democrats know Bennet and Polis are this year,” Burton Brown said. “Together, we will replace these failed career politicians with leaders who truly deliver.”
Hanks said he had $16,164 in cash by the March 31 FEC filing deadline, the federal candidate’s final report ahead of the primary election. Lopez declared $16,997 in cash by the state’s May 31 filing deadline, $2,737 less than the funding he said would come in the month.
Either way, their opponents are better funded. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea reported cash on hand of $609,138 as of March 31, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl reported cash on hand of $198,606 as of May 31. Additionally, Ganahl easily beat Lopez, 138-85, in the Republican Rumble straw poll held in mid-May, while Hanks narrowly beat O’Dea, 119-102.
Hanks attended the January 6 rally in Washington, D.C., and repeatedly repeated his belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, a far-right stance. O’Dea called him a single-issue candidate and also criticized his presence while serving at Colorado House, telling the Republican Rumble, “If you worked for me, I’d fire you.” The Liberty Scorecard, which Hanks touted in the Republican Rumble for being among the highest scores, shows his 2022 legislative turnout at 84% on major scorecard votes. By comparison, Senator Jerry Sonnenberg held a 97% stake and Rep. Rod Pelton had a 95% stake. O’Dea also criticized Hanks’ previous run for Congress from California, in which his positions on important conservative issues were quite different from a decade ago, as Colorado Politics reported.
Lopez also expressed his belief that the 2020 election was stolen. He pledged to roll back the state’s abortion law, saying he would have no exceptions to an abortion ban, a position similar to Hanks’. Lopez has also faced criticism related to a 2020 lawsuit he settled, alleging that after leaving the Small Business Administration, he tried to improperly influence the agency in favor of a client. Ganahl maintained that Lopez pleaded guilty, saying she read the settlement; Lopez argues that the settlement was not an admission of guilt.
Ads in the races must run through June 28, Election Day in the Republican primary. The Democratic Colorado Super PAC is believed to be pumping nearly $800,000 into the Senate race, while another Super PAC, Colorado Information Network, is contributing nearly $700,000 into the gubernatorial race.
“Money tells the story. The Republican primaries haven’t even ended in so-called blue states like Colorado, Washington and New Hampshire, but Democrats are throwing millions and millions of dollars early to stop the bleeding of incumbent senators,” said NRSC spokesman TW Arrighi.
Meanwhile, in western Colorado, Colorado Public Radio reported a 2.7% drop in voters on the Democratic slate, presumably to oppose U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, R-Rifle, during his first re-election bid. Colorado allows unaffiliated voters to vote in either primary election, commonly known as open primaries, but a registered Democratic voter would not be allowed to vote for Republicans.