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Colorado GOP advisors need to rebrand, rethink | noon | opinion = Colorado


Paula Noonan

Some very expensive ships sank on election day. All told, various individuals and groups spent approximately $160 million on state candidate campaigns and initiatives. About $128 million of that amount came from donations of $10,000 or more.

The largest single donation of $5 million came from Steve Wells of Wells Ranch LLP to Deep Colorado Wells – twice. Wells’ total stake was $11,152,025 to defeat Gov. Jared Polis who, needless to say, easily defeated Heidi Ganahl. The winner-loser in this Steve Wells money drain was Alex Chaffetz of Rock Chalk Media in Grand Junction. His company took $2.1 million of Wells’ cash. He also made tons of money squeezing Lauren Boebert into her CD3 seat. Chaffetz has made millions from Republican campaigns since 2006, when he earned approximately $460,000 from Progress Colorado and an all-time favorite campaign firm, Committee for the American Dream.

Wells had a worthy money competitor in Polis. He poured $4.7 million into his campaign in one fell swoop, ultimately spending $12 million of his own money. He received an additional $760,000 from others, or 6% of the total. Polis spent its money at Canal Partners, Biden’s media company, so this may be Polis’ next contest. Will Biden or Polis Be Canal Partner’s Next Presidential Candidates?

Colorado Fine Wines and Spirits, the campaign finance arm of the Maryland Trone brothers looking to expand their liquor business in that state, provided Coloradans with $3.5 million at a time for consumer choice and retail equity, two values ​​most Coloradans value at the top on their Maslow list of motivators. All in all, the Consumer Choice Committee spent almost $13 million trying to conquer the liquor market here.

BlueWest Media, a Denver-based Democratic-leaning political media company, raised about $4.3 million to persuade Coloradans to expand their liquor store business. That offer was blown away when Coloradans, in their general support for the corner liquor store, defeated the initiative by 62.31% to 37.69%. BlueWest fared better on the nominees for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Attorney General Phil Weiser, and State Treasurer Dave Young. You won easily.

In contrast to Coloradans for Consumer Choice and Retail Fairness, Wine in Grocery Stores spent just $11,627,319 on media and mail in Colorado for a one-point win. Wine in Grocery Stores contributors included Whole Foods, Albertsons-Safeway, Target, Door Dash, Instacart and, at the lower end, Kroger.

MIDG Group, run by Democratic policy advisor Sheila MacDonald, along with Clear Strategies, run by Peggi O’Keefe and Cammie Grant, made about $77,000 for running the approximately $27,000 Wine in Grocery Stores campaign. Clear Strategies has victorious campaign ties to the gaming and marijuana industries, giving its clients a good understanding of what appeals to voters in the “sin” areas. Its successful marijuana and gambling initiatives have made major contributions to Colorado’s budgets through tax increases that help schools and other programs in need.

Some losers lose on more than money. Take the Ready Colorado Action Fund, an independent spending committee of Ready Colorado, a conservative entity dedicated to education and more. Its director, Brenda Dickhoner, formerly worked for the Colorado Department of Education and is a board member of the Charter School Institute, the state charter school trustee. The Ready Colorado Action Fund raised more than $3 million from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and other business interests.

The Ready Colorado Action Fund sent most of its money to Virginia-based Creative Direct and South Carolina-based Push Digital. They ran TV ads and mail-in support for lost GOP candidates like Tim Walsh, Colin Larson and Dan Woog. They bet $40,000 against newly-elected Democrat Jennifer Parenti, $70,000 against newly-elected Democrat Sheila Lieder, $78,300 against newly-elected Democrat Eliza Hamrick, and $80,000 against newly-elected Senator Tom Sullivan. These efforts have not worked. Now, Ready Colorado must find a way to work with these lawmakers at the 2023-24 general assemblies.

The 76 Group and Ascent Media, both led by Republican luminaries former Senator Josh Penry, Liesl Hickey and Tim Pollard, couldn’t find a way to drag their Republican nominees across the finish line. The 76 group received about $1.3 million from the GOP’s Better Jobs Coalition and about $1.35 million from Ascent Media in support of Tim Walsh, the candidate for state senator versus Lisa Cutter, and other nominees for the House of Representatives and the Senate. More ships sunk.

Political campaigns are interesting. Candidates win or lose, but the media and postal companies make their money regardless. They also take a break between campaign seasons. The GOP consultants and media companies must use this time wisely. Colorado Republicans need more than a name change. You need a complete rethink.

Paula Noonan is the owner of Colorado Capitol Watch, the state’s premier legislative tracking platform.