Big Numbers for Wiens, Not for Buck

As The Denver Post reports today, Colorado’s candidates for U.S. Senate will report vastly different results from the Q4 fundraising period:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet raised more than $1.1 million last quarter, nearly 3 1/2 times more than his Democratic opponent, Andrew Romanoff.

On the Republican side for the U.S. Senate seat, Jane Norton collected more than $550,000.

The campaign for Tom Wiens, the newest Republican candidate for the Senate, said it raised more than $725,000 but declined to give any details or say how much of the money came from the candidate…

…On the Republican side, Norton’s donations last quarter were nearly 14 times more than those of Ken Buck, whose campaign netted about $40,000, according to federal filings…

…Wiens’ campaign did not elaborate on the $725,000 besides saying it had about $550,000 on hand. Detailed contribution records for the period are not yet available.

“Those are the only two figures I have,” said campaign spokesman John Ransom.

Walt Klein, adviser to Buck’s campaign, said the low totals were the result of the splash Norton made when she entered the race last fall.

“It was a disappointment but not one that was unexpected,” Klein said. The campaign has more than $276,000 on hand.

Wiens has said before that he is prepared to put $500k into his own campaign, so it will be interesting to see how much of the $725,000 his campaign is reporting having raised came from the candidate himself. But whether Wiens dipped into his own bank account, raised the money or had it delivered by a magical fairy, $725,000 is still a lot of money. This result pretty much can’t help but put a few dents in Jane Norton’s ‘aura of inevitability.’

The biggest news from Q4 on the Republican side is the anemic $40,000 raised by Buck, whose spokesman termed it “a disappointment.” We wouldn’t call it a disappointment so much as a “disaster,” since most of Colorado’s congressional candidates pulled in much more than that in Q4.

While Buck does have the support of outside groups, we hear that Republicans who are supportive of Buck as a candidate are now starting to encourage him to run in CD-4. If Buck can only net $40,000 in a quarter, then he’s not ready to be a candidate for U.S. Senate, although he has shown the chops to be a strong candidate for another office.

Given the fact that Republican Cory Gardner continues to make stupid mistakes and has been weak to this point in his campaign against Democrat Betsy Markey, it’s no surprise that many Republicans view Buck as a better choice for that seat anyway. Buck has a natural base in Greeley, which is a major population center in the district, and his relatively weak fundraising would be less of an issue in a congressional race than a Senate primary with two big money opponents. Democrats would probably prefer that Buck stay in the Senate primary and make Wiens and Jane Norton spend every last penny that they raise, but we can’t disagree that it would make sense for a lot of reasons for Buck to switch gears.

35 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BICora says:

    the campaign figures out right now that acknowledging your opponent sucked all the air out of your campaign is not the kind of explanation that makes it look like you can remain viable.

    OTOH, he could now renounce donations since money is bad and corrupting.  

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    If not for those outside groups I’d say Buck is definitely toast. With those outside groups, I still don’t see a way forward for Buck.

    But if the outside groups continue to pour money in, then maybe. John McCain brought his campaign back from the dead. But the odds suck.

    On Tom Weins, keep in mind that Jared raised over 1 mil in addition to his self funding. The dollars raised from outside of donations is the key metric. If Weins is not telling – that’s a pretty good indicator.

    With that said, I think Weins has a glass jaw so I don’t see him being a serious contender.

  3. Born To Run says:

    Campaign for Liberty has done a cable ad buy for Buck.  Very weak ads that are hard to decipher.  

    If Buck runs for Congress he will win.  

    If he stays in the Senate race he might win the primary as Jane Norton is a pathetic candidate. With primary turnout generally under 20% in contested GOP races anything can happen.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      You must not watch local broadcast. Those ads have been on  all the time on Denver channels, at least. $350,000 buys a lot of spots.

    • zia205 says:

      Gardner can raise cash, but he has no natural base among the 90% of voters NOT on the eastern plains. Buck’s base of support is in the most critical county to CD-4: Weld. Also, Buck has been railing against the so-called anointed candidates. The NRSC’s pick is Norton. The NRCC’s pick is Gardner. He has an opportunity to harness the Tea Party energy and turn more republicans against the establishment in Washington.  I think Buck would destroy Markey in Weld county, which would easily win him the seat.  

  4. Born To Run says:

    Tom Wiens is personally wealthy but has two bankruptcies and a lot of lawsuits in his past.

    If he wins the nomination Bennet or Romanoff will just dust off the ads attacking Angie Paccione in 2006 for her personal financial troubles.

    • redstateblues says:

      But $750,000 is still $750,000. Right now it’s all about who can be the most competitive in the primary. Grassroots Republican activists are desperate for someone other than Norton to vote for.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      I had been unable to remember. One of them was when he was running an insurance company. I can’t recall the other.

      Then there was the difficulty he had with the vets nonprofit.

      Do you know if he ever repaid any of those creditors that he owed once he got well financially?

  5. The guy should bow out while there’s still time to do so in a partially-graceful manner. At this point, running a severely lethargic campaign only hurts Republicans in the Fall by splitting funds. It is indeed time for him to switch gears.

    Wiens would be the best thing to ever happen to Bennet and the Dems; he’s rife with baggage, whether it be bankruptcies, legal issues, or mismanaging (to put it lightly) charities. All of it is fodder for some touchy campaign ads. Being ambiguous about how much of your fundraising came from outside your pockets doesn’t help either.

    Because of Bennet’s fundraising prowess, the longer the CO GOP waits to coalesce, the more time Bennet has to unify his primary situation.

  6. I’ve worked for Wiens and I’ve witnessed his handling of his own company finances and how he treats people…I’ll pass on him, thank you.

  7. scobb99 says:

    Bennet would love for Wiens to win this primary. His campaign would be a disaster and it is already showing. The electorate is already suspicous of politicians, and the fact that Wiens has not disclosed the source of the money he raised doesn’t help either.  

  8. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    of the $728K reported for Q4 fundraising, in what his campaign is calling a “candidate-provided loan.”

  9. colawman says:

    I would like to see the details on fundraising. Did Wiens just commit suicide by throwing out a number that seems quite suspicious?  Buck’s similar grassroots campaign reports much smaller results. If I were a betting man I would say some people are really digging into Wiens figures right now. I would prefer to be in Buck’s position with his truthful paltry numbers than the alternative.  Norton’s fund raising was impressive, but it is expected since she is the RNC choice.  The problem with all that RNC money is it does not reflect Colorado’s choice. This is turning into a great race.  

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