Markey continues to build war chest

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Rep. Betsy Markey continued to build her 2010 campaign war chest during the third quarter of 2009, adding $343,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to her campaign. Markey spokesman Ben Marter told The Colorado Statesman on Wednesday that she had collected the contributions from more than 1,700 donors and has $751,400 cash on hand as of Oct. 1.

Campaign finance reports were due Thursday to the Federal Election Commission, but Markey’s campaign had not filed her third quarter report in time to meet The Colorado Statesman’s deadline.

“I made a promise to the people of this district to serve as an independent voice for them in Congress, and I’m proud to work every day to keep that promise,” Markey said in a statement e-mailed to reporters Wednesday night. “In such tough economic times, I am truly humbled that so many people are reaching deep in their pockets to lend their support as we work to create jobs and rebuild and regrow our economy across Colorado.”

Markey’s ability to continually raise large sums of money each quarter will help her in what is considered to be the state’s most competitive congressional district in 2010. She overwhelmed Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in 2008, although the district’s voter registration heavily favors the GOP.

A spokesman for the campaign of Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, the front-runner in the race for the CD 4 GOP nomination, told The Statesman on Wednesday that $188,000 went into his campaign coffers during the 12 weeks of the third quarter, raised through the contributions of 582 donors. That’s $18,000 less than the $206,000 raised by Gardner during the first seven weeks of his campaign, which launched in May. Gardner has $280,000 cash on hand as of Oct. 1.

“We feel good about our numbers,” said campaign manager Mike Ciletti.

“We raised less than the incumbent, but that is expected in races like these. We feel we are hitting the right message with voters, and it shows in our numbers this quarter.”

However, the makeup of Gardner’s donors has changed slightly since his second quarter filing.

During the first seven weeks of his candidacy, Gardner touted the fact that he had collected no money from political action committees. During the third quarter, however, PACs gave $8,400 to the campaign, including a $500 donation from the Changing Tide PAC, which is run by former U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard.

University of Colorado regent Tom Lucero, Gardner’s only challenger for the CD 4 Republican nomination, raised $39,867 during the third quarter through 829 donors, according to his campaign manager, Nancy Rumfelt. Although that’s less than 20 percent of Gardner’s third-quarter haul, it’s still more than Lucero raised during the entire timespan leading up to Q3.

Lucero announced his candidacy in December 2008, before Markey was sworn in to office. He has $32,261 cash on hand.

“It’s more than we raised in Q1 and Q2, and that is why we feel positive,” said Rumfelt. “It’s easy to raise money when you’re getting money from PACs and special interests. But we’re taking a grassroots approach. People are really looking for someone who isn’t your usual politician because it’s part of their career path. They want someone who is doing it to make a difference and put the people first.”

Although Gardner’s third quarter numbers are less than Markey’s haul, he banked more donations during the third quarter of 2009 than Markey did during the comparable third quarter of 2007, when she was challenging then-incumbent Musgrave. In her October quarterly filing with the FEC, Markey reported raising $116,365 and ended the quarter with $150,670 cash on hand.

Jason@coloradostatesman.com