Incumbent candidates running to represent Southwest Colorado in the state Legislature are out-fundraising their opponents as the November election nears.
Financial disclosures from Sept. 13 through Sept. 26 released this week reveal the candidates’ fundraising and spending records.
In the race for House District 59, Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, has raised about $88,000 total, more than three times what her opponent Paul Jones, an independent from Gunnison, has raised. District 59 covers Durango, Pagosa Springs, Silverton, Ridgway, Lake City and Gunnison. In recent years, the race has been one of the most competitive and expensive House district races in the state.
Jones has raised about $24,000 total as of Monday, according to his most recent campaign finance report.
McLachlan had about $43,000 on hand and Jones had about $10,000 on hand, according to the most recent reports.
Jones said he hopes informed voters dedicated to their own research will make a greater difference than the amount of money spent on the race.
Jones will not accept any money from political action committees or special-interest groups to fund his campaign, he said.
“Some people have given me as little as $2. I’m proud that people that may not have a lot of money can find a way to donate to my campaign,” he said.
Unite Colorado, a group that supports independent candidates, is endorsing Jones, but it has not given any money to his campaign directly, he said.
In May, Jones reported Unite Colorado’s Grassroots Election Fund gave $4,850 to his campaign, according to campaign filings.
His campaign spent money on travel, food, advertising in newspapers and consulting services during the last reporting period.
McLachlan has accepted money from individuals and political action committees, including $200 from the Architects of Colorado Political Action Committee and $2,500 from the Colorado Conservation Action Fund Committee, according to her most recent campaign-finance report.
“I have talked with every one of them, and I know what they stand for,” she said of political action committees.
She also said she will not be beholden to special-interest groups when she is voting on legislation.
McLachlan’s campaign funded travel expenses and paid employees in Denver, Gunnison and La Plata County in the most recent reporting period.
In 2016, McLachlan faced Republican J. Paul Brown in the race for House District 59; during that race, she raised nearly $170,000.
In Senate District 6, incumbent Don Coram, R-Montrose, is facing Guinn Unger, D-Bayfield, and has raised about $8,000 more than his opponent.
Senate District 6 covers Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties.
Coram has raised $32,000 total and had $10,000 on hand as of Monday. Unger has raised $23,700 total and had about $2,000 on hand.
Coram said he hadn’t spent much time fundraising recently aside from a single Facebook post asking for donations; most contributions to his campaign have been unsolicited. He believes his bipartisan voting record has drawn the unsolicited money, he said.
“I don’t think I need to spend a lot of money. I think my history is out there. I think it’s well-known,” he said.
One of his largest contributions in the recent reporting period was $1,000 from the Colorado Chiropractic Association Small Donor Committee. He also received $400 from the Colorado Dental Political Action Committee and $400 from the Colorado Telecommunications Association Political Action Committee.
Much of Coram’s spending in the last reporting period was on travel, reports show.
Unger’s contributions in the last reporting period came from individuals and the La Plata County Democratic Party Central Committee, which donated $1,000, according to campaign filings.
“We feel like we’re raising enough money to be competitive,” Unger said.
Unger’s campaign spent money on consulting services, advertising on Facebook, video production services and other advertising, filings show.
He plans a fundraising push through October, he said.