A last look at Colorado's campaign finance reports

KUSA – We got our final peak into who is funding the candidates and campaigns in Colorado.

The last campaign finance reports before the election were filed with the Secretary of State’s office Monday.

Here’s what we learned from reading those reports.

1) Big tobacco blew everyone else out of the water.

The No Blank Checks in the Constitution committee raised more than $16 million this cycle in the hopes of keeping a tobacco tax from being written into our state’s constitution.

That’s three to four times the amount raised by other major campaigns.

And it’s more money than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have spent on advertising in Colorado combined.

The last time we checked the campaign finance reports, this no on Amendment 72 campaign had one donor: Altria Client Services.

The company is a subsidiary of Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) -- one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.

Now, the campaign has two donors.

McLane Company, which supplies food to convenience stores and chain restaurants, donated $20,000.

2) Noble Energy wants Colorado to open its primaries.

The energy company gave the Let Colorado Vote campaign $200,000, making it the largest donor this reporting period.

The group is pushing propositions 107 and 108. These would create a presidential primary and let unaffiliated voters participate in the primary process.

We asked Noble Energy why it waded into the primary debate in Colorado.

"Let Colorado Vote has strong bi-partisan support among business, community and elected leaders and Noble Energy has chosen to support this initiative because we believe it is important for all voices to be heard in Colorado's primary process,” spokesman Brian Miller said.

3) ColoradoCareYES is still struggling.

Half a million dollars may be a lot of money to you and me, but it’s nowhere near enough to win a statewide campaign in Colorado.

And that’s just about what ColoradoCareYes has raised this cycle.

The group is backing Amendment 69 that would give healthcare to all Coloradans, but polling shows just 27 percent of voters plan to support it.

That may be why the group struggled to fundraise while its opposition, Coloradans for Coloradans, raised $4 million.

4) Tom Sullivan could determine who controls Colorado’s Senate.

We’ve been watching three key races in the Colorado Senate (districts 19, 25,26) that will determine whether Republicans keep control of the chamber.

Now, we’re adding one more race to our watch list.

Sen. Jack Tate (R-Centennial) holds the seat, but he’s never been elected to it. He was picked to fill the seat last year after Sen. David Balmer resigned.

His challenger is a guy named Tom Sullivan. He’s a veteran who lost his son in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

“[Sullivan’s] a machine at the doors,” Democratic Senate Campaign spokesman Andrew Short said. “I think we’re really going to surprise folks there.”

The district’s registration and previous elections favor Republicans, but Sullivan’s outpacing Tate in donations.

The Democrat has taken in 37 percent more than his opponent.

The race has also caught the attention of outside groups.

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently appeared in an ad urging voters to elect Sullivan and other Senate Democrats. And Republicans mentioned Sullivan by name in an ad attacking Democrats running for the legislature.

5) Catholic dioceses bankrolled the opposition to physician assisted suicide.

The majority of the $2.6 million raised by No Assisted Suicide Colorado campaign comes from Catholic dioceses in Colorado.

The Archdiocese of Denver gave $1.6 million, the Diocese of Pueblo donated $135,000 and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs gave $500,000.

If you’re wondering whether these donations violate campaign finance laws, they don’t.

Churches and other non-profits can’t donate to candidates, but they can donate to campaigns on ballot issues.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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