Douglas County Republican Victor Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former state lawmaker, plans to report that his gubernatorial campaign banked just over $3 million in the first three months of the year, nearly all of it in the form of a loan from the candidate, The Colorado Statesman has learned.
And Mitchell says he’s prepared to pour plenty more into his campaign.
Mitchell, the chairman and CEO of Lead Funding LLC, a company that finances real estate development — it’s only the latest in a series of companies the Castle Rock resident has started and run over nearly three decades — said in February when he announced he was running for governor of Colorado that he would write his campaign a check for $3 million, and according to documents his campaign intends to file with the Colorado secretary of state’s office, that’s just what he did.
Mitchell is one of four declared candidates in a GOP primary field that could grow larger in coming months. District Attorney George Brauchler jumped in the race last week, joining Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, who announced early last month, and Loveland retiree Joanne Silva, who launched her campaign in December, along with Mitchell.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term-limited after next year’s election.
In total, Mitchell’s campaign brought in $3,005,278, his campaign finance report shows, including $3,002,700 from the candidate. (He told The Statesman he paid for some initial set-up costs for the campaign’s operation before writing the $3 million check.) That means Mitchell’s campaign raised $2,578 from outside donors, contributions his campaign said came in via the candidate’s website without any effort at fundraising.
After expenditures totaling $200,184, Mitchell’s campaign plans to report $2,805,094 cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.
“It’s going to cost $5 million to win this primary and probably another $5 million to win the general election,” Mitchell told The Statesman on Wednesday. Mitchell added that he’s prepared to loan his campaign whatever it takes, although he also noted that the Republican nominee likely won’t be lacking in sufficient resources from state Republicans and national organizations that will target the seat.
Mitchell’s campaign bank account dwarfs the record-breaking haul announced last week by Democrat Mike Johnston, a former state senator, who reported that he raised over $625,000 in the first quarter. Johnston, who didn’t release his end-of-quarter cash on hand total, noted that his sum was a record for a state race in an off year since strict campaign finance limits went into effect a dozen years ago.
In addition to Johnston, Democrats in the race include U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, who both announced their campaigns in recent days, and businessman Noel Ginsburg, who said in December he was running.
Campaign finance reports for the quarter ending March 31 are due at midnight Monday, April 17.
So far, among the 18 candidates who have officially declared they’re running — including third-party and unaffiliated candidates — Silva and Gaiter are the only 2018 hopefuls to have filed. Silva has raised $300 and spent $2,158 since getting in the race, resulting in a $1,858 deficit. Gaiter reports raising $3,840 and spending $3,072, leaving $767 cash on hand at the end of the quarter.