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Hurd leads GOP in CD3 campaign cash as Boebert laps the primary field in CD4

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June 17, 2024, 10:08 am
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With just over a week to go until Colorado’s 2024 primary election, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s fundraising advantage over her rivals for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District has only widened further.

Boebert announced in December that she would move across the state and switch districts after representing the Western Slope’s 3rd District in Congress since 2021. Since then, Federal Election Commission reports show that she has raised over $2 million from donors in her bid to win the seat previously held by former U.S. Rep. Ken Buck — double the amount raised by her five GOP primary rivals combined.

Republicans hold a strong advantage in the 4th District, which includes Douglas County and most of Colorado’s Eastern Plains, and the winner of the GOP primary on June 25 will be heavily favored to win a full term in Congress in November. The remainder of Buck’s term will be served by the winner of a separate special election, also on June 25, contested by Republican Greg Lopez, a self-described “placeholder” candidate, and Democrat Trisha Calvarese, who is also seeking a full term.

Deborah Flora, a conservative radio host, is Boebert’s best-funded primary rival, having raised over $418,000 since announcing her campaign last November, according to FEC reports. Former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, who has been endorsed by a long list of GOP establishment figures, has raised over $345,000, while state Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron, has raised $110,383 and supplemented that total with over $38,000 in personal loans to his campaign.

On the Democratic side, Ike McCorkle, a Marine veteran who unsuccessfully challenged Buck in the 2020 and 2022 elections, holds a strong fundraising advantage over Calvarese, a labor organizer, and addiction recovery advocate John Padora.

McCorkle has spent over $1.2 million during the 2024 election cycle and reported having over $163,000 in cash on hand as of June 5. Padora had raised a little over $300,000, while Calvarese had raised about $139,000.

Boebert’s erstwhile challenger in the 3rd District, former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch, has continued to lead Colorado congressional candidates in quarterly fundraising totals even after Boebert’s district switch, adding further to the record-setting hauls he reported in 2023.

Frisch reported another $1 million in contributions to his campaign in the period between April 1 and June 5, bringing his total fundraising haul in the 2024 election cycle to over $13.7 million. After coming within 546 votes of unseating Boebert in 2022, he is unopposed in the 3rd District Democratic primary, and even after spending over $10 million to date, he is on track to enter the general with the largest campaign war chest of any Colorado congressional candidate, with over $3.7 million in cash on hand.

Though Republicans hold a moderate advantage in the 3rd District, which encompasses much of the Western Slope and Pueblo, the winner of a six-way GOP primary next week will begin their matchup with Frisch at a major financial disadvantage.

Grand Junction attorney Jeff Hurd, who has the support of deep-pocketed conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity, has raised the most by far of any candidate in the 3rd District Republican primary, having spent over $847,000 to date and boasting $219,000 in cash on hand.

Several of Hurd’s rivals, including financial adviser Russ Andrews and car-dealership scion Lew Webb, have relied on large personal loans to their campaigns. One candidate, far-right conspiracy theorist and former state Rep. Ron Hanks, has reported spending just $7,438 on his campaign, but he has been the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in super PAC spending by a Democratic group in an apparent effort to secure a more favorable general election opponent for Frisch.

All three GOP-held seats open

Buck’s resignation, Boebert’s district switch and the retirement of Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who has represented the 5th District there since 2007, mean that all three of Colorado’s GOP-held congressional seats are up for grabs in 2024.

Colorado Republican Party chair Dave Williams, a former state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully against Lamborn in the 2022 primary before being elected as state party chair last year, is seeking the seat again. In the primary he faces Jeff Crank, a longtime GOP operative and regional vice president for Americans for Prosperity.

Crank’s $370,000 in campaign expenditures to date are more than six times what Williams has spent, and Crank has also benefited from at least $1.4 million in outside spending by Americans for Prosperity and other super PACs.

Williams, a far-right election denier who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is the target of a formal FEC complaint over his use of state party resources to support his candidacy. A group of county-level GOP officials has also launched a campaign to remove him as party chair.

A fourth competitive GOP primary next week will decide who takes on Democratic U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo of Thornton in the 8th District. Caraveo was narrowly elected two years ago to represent the evenly split district, which includes parts of the northern Denver suburbs and southern Weld County.

State Rep. Gabe Evans of Fort Lupton has spent over $420,000 to date in his head-to-head Republican primary matchup with former state Rep. Janak Joshi, and reported another $225,000 in cash on hand as of June 5. Evans’ candidacy has also received outside support from Americans for Prosperity.

Joshi has faced criticism during the campaign for misrepresenting himself as a physician despite surrendering his medical license in 2008, and only moved to the 8th District in February of this year. His candidacy has largely been funded through $168,000 in personal loans to his campaign. Joshi has accused Evans of being “wishy-washy” in his support for Trump’s agenda, though Trump endorsed Evans earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Caraveo has spent a little over $1 million on her reelection campaign to date, and will enter the general election with another $2.3 million in cash on hand.

Races in Colorado’s other four congressional districts — the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th — involve Democratic incumbents who are either running unopposed or are expected to prevail in the primary.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and X.

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