STEAMBOAT SPRINGS - Trailing his Republican opponent by about $10,000 in fundraising, Routt County Democrat and state House District 57 candidate Todd Hagenbuch has gone on the offensive.
Hagenbuch released a statement Monday, criticizing Randy Baumgardner's donations from interest groups and out-of-district sources. Although the majority of Baumgardner's campaign money has come from these sources, most of Hagenbuch's donations are from individuals living in House District 57.
"District 57 citizens deserve someone who represents them, not special interests from outside Northwest Colorado," Hagenbuch said in the statement. "I'm the fourth generation to call this special part of out state home, and I will fight for the common values we share and will protect what I've learned here at the state Capitol."
Cell phone messages left for Hagenbuch and Baumgardner were not returned Tuesday afternoon.
Last month, Baumgardner said the people contributing to his campaign share his views as a proponent of property rights, Second Amendment rights, keeping water on the Western Slope and addressing the state's mountain pine beetle epidemic.
"I'll take money from anybody," Baumgardner said last month. "Anybody wants to give me money, I'll take it."
Colorado candidates were required to file financial reports through Oct. 22 with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office on Monday. It was the last campaign finance deadline before Election Day. The reports showed Baumgardner with $33,620 in total contributions this election cycle. Hagenbuch reported $24,382.
Some of Baumgardner's largest donations come from political action committees and small donor committees. From Sept. 25 through Oct. 22, they include $2,000 from Service Employees International, $2,000 from the Colorado Association of Public Employees, $400 from American Family Insurance, $400 from Associated Collection Agencies Political Committee Fund and two $200 donations from Waste Management PAC.
In that same month, Hagenbuch had only two donations from such groups: $400 from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Rural PAC and $500 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Last month, Hagenbuch said his campaign strategy has been to focus on personal encounters with voters. He said his supporters are likely drawn to his stances on forest health, water, wildlife issues and oil and gas development.
Baumgardner has earned endorsements from The Denver Post and The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction. So has his counterpart in the race for Senate District 8, state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden. White's opponent, Steamboat Springs Democrat Ken Brenner, also has criticized the sources of White's donations. White has countered that argument by claiming he has broad support stemming from his eight-year voting record in the state House of Representatives. White's fundraising leads Brenner's through Oct. 22, $144,757 to $58,974.
Baumgardner is a political newcomer, as is Hagenbuch. Neither has held an elected office.