Big money flows in Senate District 8 race |

Big money flows in Senate District 8 race

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The hotly contested race for the open seat in the new State Senate District 8, which stretches from the energy-rich regions of northwest Colorado to the ski resort communities of Summit County, is turning out to be an expensive one.Campaign contributions for the two major candidates in the race, Republican Randy Baumgardner and Democrat Emily Tracy, combined, has surpassed $140,000, according to the final pre-election campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office by the two campaigns on Oct. 29.It’s an indication of just how much of a swing district SD 8 has become, as Democrats and Republicans both vie for control of the Colorado Senate, where Democrats now have the edge.The Colorado Democratic Party has pumped more than $15,000 into Tracy’s campaign, while Baumgardner has taken in thousands of dollars worth of contributions from a variety of political action committees run by energy and mining interests, as well as local Republican committees.SD 8 was redrawn earlier this year as part of the state legislative reapportionment process. It now includes all of Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand and Summit counties.For the past 10 years, Grand and Summit counties were not part of the senate district.Tracy, of Breckenridge, leads the way in campaign fundraising, having brought in a total of almost $78,700, including $14,834 during the latest reporting period from Oct. 11-24. She had spent a total of $66,385 on her campaign as of the latest filing.Baumgardner, who resides in rural Jackson County, reported a grand total of $61,387 in contributions to his campaign, including $7,898 in the latest cycle. He had so far spent a total of $52,735.Tracy and Baumgardner, along with Libertarian candidate Sacha Weiss, are vying for the right to represent the new, larger and more diverse SD 8 in next Tuesday’s election.Previously, SD 8 was represented by Republican Al White of Hayden. When White was appointed in early 2011 to head up newly elected Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Tourism Office, his wife, Jean White, was appointed to fill out the remaining two years of the four-year term.In the June 26 Republican primary election, the more moderate White was ousted by Baumgardner, who was the favorite among conservatives. Baumgardner, the former state House District 57 representative, was drawn out of that house district through reapportionment.The amount of contributions to the Tracy and Baumgardner campaigns is significantly more than the approximately $107,000 raised by Al White and his Democratic opponent, Ken Brenner of Steamboat Springs, in the 2008 election.According to the Oct. 29 campaign finance reports, the Colorado Democratic Party funneled another $3,579 to the Tracy campaign during the latest reporting period. That brought the state party’s total support for Tracy to $15,137.Abortion-rights groups including NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, Emily’s List and Voices for Choice have also given significant contributions to Tracy’s campaign. Labor groups and public education organizations have supported her as well.Baumgardner, in the latest reporting cycle, continued to receive money from energy, agriculture and engineering groups, though in smaller increments of $50 to $400.In earlier reporting periods, Baumgardner’s campaign reported contributions from the Colorado Mining Association, Williams Companies, Arch Coal Inc., Trapper Mine, Oxbow Carbon & Minerals, Anglogold Ashanti, and Black Hills Corp.Conservative groups such as the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners PAC, Peak Leadership Committee of Colorado Springs, Coloradans for Common Sense, and the Cheyenne Mountain Republican Forum have also supported Baumgardner.

Political action committees (PACs) are also investing in the race for the open Colorado House District 57 seat between Republican Bob Rankin of Carbondale and Democrat Jo Ann Baxter of Craig. HD 57 includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.As of the Oct. 29 campaign finance filings, Rankin had brought in another $4,683 in contributions, bringing his grand total to $50,610. Baxter reported an additional $2,950 in contributions, raising her total to $17,691.A third candidate in the race, Libertarian Dan Enright of Silt, has not reported any contributions or spending in his campaign.Among Rankin’s contributors in the final pre-election cycle were PACs run by American Family Insurance, the National Federation of Independent Business of Colorado, Doctors Company Colorado, Cablevision Systems Colorado, the Colorado Cable Television Association, Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters, Trapper Mine, Mining for Colorado’s Future and WPX Energy.None of the most recent contributions to the Rankin campaign surpassed $400, except for a $683 contribution from the Garfield County Republican Party.Baxter, meanwhile, continued to receive support from the Colorado Public Education Committee, which gave another $1,000 to the campaign, bringing its total support for Baxter to $3,250, according to her filing.

Final pre-election campaign finance reports were also filed by the Oct. 29 deadline by the two candidates for Ninth District Attorney, incumbent Republican Martin Beeson of Rifle and Democrat Sherry Caloia of Glenwood Springs. Both campaigns have raised about the same amount in contributions, at around $12,500 each.In the race for University of Colorado Regent from the Third Congressional District, Democrat Jessica Garrow of Carbondale reports a grand total of $23,011 in contributions, while Republican Glenn Gallegos of Grand Junction reported $18,693.Updated campaign finance reports are due today from the four candidates vying for two Garfield County commissioner

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