Millions poured into Colorado Senate, gubernatorial races | CraigDailyPress.com

Millions poured into Colorado Senate, gubernatorial races

Janelle O'Dea

Colorado's campaign season means lots of ballots in the mail and issues weighing on voters' minds.

It also means heavy pockets for candidates in the strongly contested races.

The Centennial State's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are some of the most closely watched this November. More than $24 million has been spent on Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner's campaigns combined between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 15.

Udall gained more contributions than Gardner in this period, with $14,276,282 compared to Gardner's $9,743,073.

The money comes mostly from individuals and political action committees.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper raised more than $5 million combined within the same time period.

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Hickenlooper raised significantly more, with $4,639,861 in the 21-month period compared to Beauprez's $1,551,319.

There are limits and rules for contributions to U.S. Senate races and Colorado's governor race, available via the Federal Election Commission website and the Colorado Secretary of State website, respectively.

But by using a "bundler," or someone who collects individual donations and presents them to the campaign as one lump sum, some of these rules and limits can be avoided. Bundlers, according to http://www.citizen.org, are typically CEOs, hedge fund managers or independently wealthy folks who more or less "direct" funds to campaigns.

The website http://www.followthemoney.org, by nonpartisan and nonprofit agency the National Institute on Money in State Politics, has campaign finance information in a usable public database.

According to the database, the oil, gas and mining industries fueled Udall's campaign with 374 contributions totaling $419,400. The figures are drawn from the 56 percent of records collected by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

The same group of companies and industries gave Gardner 195 contributions totaling $335,800, except the agency was only able to collect 10 percent of available reports.

Xcel Energy, Norfolk Southern and Dominion are examples of energy companies who, according to http://www.followthemoney.org, donated $5,000 or more to Sen. Udall's campaign. The companies gave through either employees or its own political action committee.

The National Association of Convenience Stores, who supports and lobbies for several industries under one umbrella, provided Gardner and Udall with $10,000 each.

The energy industry supplied Gov. Hickenlooper's campaign with 260 contributions totaling $145,114, according to the 93 percent of reports collected.

Beauprez received 30 contributions adding up to $19,765, with 93 percent of available reports collected.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday