There’s Hickenlooper, Then There’s Everyone Else

Democrat Andrew Romanoff filed his Q3 fundraising report just under the deadline on Tuesday, submitting his numbers at 11:32 pm (according to the FEC). Romanoff’s report — $503k raised and a total cash-on-hand (COH) amount of $725k — concludes the Q3 fundraising period for the 8 remaining Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

The numbers speak for themselves:


As you can see from the chart above, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is in a completely different stratosphere than the rest of the Democratic field. You could add up the total COH amounts for every candidate not named Hickenlooper — and then double that total — and you still wouldn’t reach the amount of money Hickenlooper has in the bank after just five weeks as a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper

Only Romanoff is anywhere near Hickenlooper’s fundraising figures (the rest of the field could barely combine to run a competitive STATE Senate race), yet Hickenlooper more than quadrupled Romanoff’s returns in a matter of weeks. The writing is on the wall regardless of whether Romanoff chooses to read the words himself. After about nine months as a U.S. Senate candidate, Romanoff is consistently turning in fundraising quarters that would be solid for a competitive Congressional race.

You know how often a candidate ends up winning an election after being exponentially outraised by an opponent? About as regularly as incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) gives an honest answer to a question. Can it be done? Sure. Is it likely to happen? Nope.

As we’ve said many times in this space, campaign fundraising is about much more than just paying staffers and keeping the lights on — it’s a barometer of the candidate’s appeal. People generally give money to campaigns that they think have the best chance of winning; it’s human nature to support the strongest perceived candidate. In the first congressional district, for example, weak fundraising was a clear sign for Crisanta Duran that her challenge of incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) wasn’t going anywhere. DeGette wasn’t knocking it out of the park on the fundraising front, but by comparison she was well ahead of her challenger.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that Hickenlooper is clearly the candidate best equipped to defeat Gardner, who raised $2.45 million in Q3 and is sitting on a warchest of $6.7 million. If beating Gardner is the primary concern for Democrats in 2020, then Hickenlooper is unquestionably the right opponent. If it’s about something else…well, that’s a question only Romanoff can answer.

37 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    Pols, do you think that (a) Andrew needs more money than he's taking in to make a successful primary run and (b) that Democrats will suddenly stop having the enthusiasm that drives them to donate if it's Andrew, rather than John who secures the nomination?

    Also, I'd expect Andrew's plan is to go through the assembly nominating process.  I think it's likely Hick will petition on.  Do you agree?  If so, is there a significant cost different between these two approaches (I've not run a campaign) that would necessitate a candidate on one path having more money than one on the other path?

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Romanoff is basically running a campaign with an April end date (State Convention). With his current burn rate it would be tough to set aside enough money to petition on to the ballot, let alone to reach the vast majority of Primary voters with any sort of real advertising effort. To use a football analogy, this is a "Hail Mary" play…at halftime. This is the same movie we saw in 2010.   

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Not my favorite outcome, not my sense of how to build a party for long-term or down-ballot success. But pretty inevitable.

    Here's hoping that Hickenlooper, DeGette, & Perlmutter can use their experience and access to resources for a 2020 campaign that will drive the whole party forward. 

  3. Duke Cox says:

    I have been around here a long time Alva. I can't remember being more disappointed in your judgement. If John Hickenlooper is so inevitable, why do you feel the need to put your thumb on the scale at every conceivable opportunity? 

    Wouldn't it be closer to journalism if you chose not to campaign for Frackenlooper here? I know its a blog and you can say and do whatever you want. But some of your posts could almost be considered campaign contributions.

    Andrew Romanoff is a great candidate that was a pioneer in refusing corporate money.  Maybe that is why he is not welcomed by the DSCC…or you. It would be great to see you expound on why Hickenlooper would be a better, progressive senator than Andrew. We already hear you on the money thing.

    I always thought the primary process was to pick the person who will do the best job and help them win. Not pick the winner from the start and toss everyone else aside. Doesn't seem right. Andrew ..will do the best job. 

    He will be one of Colorados finest senators.

    • Voyageur says:

      The race goeth not always to the swift, nor the contest always to the strong, Duke. 

      But that is the way to betsad

      cue "March of the Oily Boyz."

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      [Duke] said "you're such a sweet young thing
      Why you do this to yourself?"
      [He] looked at me and this is what [he] said

      "Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked
      Money don't grow on trees
      I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed
      Ain't nothing in this world for free
      I know I can't slow down
      I can't hold back though you know I wish I could
      No, there ain't no rest for the wicked
      Until we close our eyes for good"

  4. kwtree says:

    We can all look forward to Cory Gardner’s committees running these tape on a loop:

    Hick: “I’m not cut out to be a Senator”. “If the Senate’s so good, how come all those Senators are trying to get out?” Plus other juicy quotes about why he didn’t want to be a Senator. 

    Romanoff and Angela Williams will be running these Hick “Senate? Meh.” quotes, would be political malpractice not to.  Plus the oldie but goodie of Hick bragging about sipping fracking fluid with Halliburton execs to show it’s safe. And nominating ALEC oil lobbyist Glen Vaad for the PUC. And lying repeatedly about how 250,000 oil and gas jobs would be lost if there were any regulation of the oil and gas industry. 

    But yeah, he’s a real climate warrior. 

    The enthusiasm gap starts all the way at the top. 



    • RepealAndReplace says:

      The enthusiasm gap starts all the way at the top

      If there is such an enthusiasm gap, why is the fracking fluid guzzler polling north of 50% while all the grass roots candidates are in single digits?

      Let me guess:  Because the system is rugged?

      • MADCO says:

        Name recognition is a BIG deal.

        And no one outside the high information insiders remembers anything he did that totally sucked.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Name recognition is a BIG deal.

          And no one outside the high information insiders remembers anything he did that totally sucked.

          Fixed that for ya’ . . .

          . . . and you’re right, there’s a great reward these days in politics for never having done anything (. . . except getting elected).

    • MADCO says:

      Would you agree he's a safe D vote in the Senate?

      So he's no Sherrod Brown or Sanders, Warren, Harris, Klobuchar (at least one of whom will be out) . He's not going to move the caucus left.
      Maybe he's as far left as Colorado is ready for.
      Not in Lakewood or Sheridan. But Grand Junction, Yuma, Durango, and all 653 counties.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        Would you agree he's a safe D vote in the Senate?

        For increased taxes to make the safety net really work?  No.

        For real work on climate change? No.

        Banking/financial regulation?  No.

        Reasonable levels of defense spending? No.

        Student debt relief? No.

        For universal healthcare?  Fuck no.

        I should say that I don’t think he’s substantively different than Bennet, except perhaps their being “bad” on some slightly different issues, slightly differently.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        He makes Chuck Schumer majority leader and he makes Dianne Feinstein chairwoman of judiciary committee. That works for me….

    • Voyageur says:

      Exactly how is state Sen Williams, with $48 K on hand, going to pay for that massive advertising blitz? 

  5. Duke Cox says:

    For V, just above…Federal and state support in the general should take care of it, if there wasn't an oath of fealty that accompanies any funding from those sources.

    In the primary, only Hickenloopers' wealthy friends and name recognition make him "invincible". He is the one who cut in line. If he wins the primary, it will be on the votes of independent and low information voters. Not by those who know and love his policies and politics.

    • Voyageur says:

      Somehow, Duke, hick managed to win three mayor races and two governorships.  Your man has lost two straight races and the kiwi fruit fantasizes about obscure leftists who never even sought election out of ultra blue districts.

      Uber-left purity gave us Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.  So don't bellyache to me when you get six kavanaughs on the supreme court.

      • Duke Cox says:

        "Uber-left purity gave us Cory Gardner and Donald Trump"  ??? 

        That is crap, V. I could just as easily say centrist, corporate greed-heads gave us the worst candidate possible…Hillary Clinton. I was right in the middle of that primary bullshit. I saw the behavior of the DNC and the party establishment.

        Frackenlooper became governor because he ran against two of the worst Republican candidates in modern history and he had the support of many Republicans. It is no big deal for a Democrat to be the mayor of Denver. That " oh, he's the only winner" is bullshit V.

        I am still waiting for SOMEONE…ANYONE to tell me why Frackenlooper will make a great senator representing the people of Colorado. Tell me of his work on our behalf of our party and our people.

        I don't have to tell you what a competent, ethical, dedicated public servant Andrew Romanoff is. Everyone already knows it.

        But for Hick and his bunch, it is about having the power and influence to protect his corporate pals. ( Right, V.  the OilyBoyz)

        Andrew is not a socialist, though I wouldn't care how he defines himself. He is an honorable man. But…you already know that, too.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Setting aside the fact that Hillary Clinton received 3 million votes more than Trump did, and 3.7 million more than your socialist God, Bernie Sanders, did in the nomination contest, she didn't do so badly for the "worst candidate possible."

          Duke, maybe "the worst candidate possible" won the nomination because most Democrats were not buying the shit Bernie was selling. 


          • Duke Cox says:

            1st….. I am not a Bernie supporter.

            2nd….I was there, R&R. I was a part of the bullshit that went down. Your attempt at recreating history with irrelevant statistics isn't working. Oh, right…there weren't any Superdelegates to solidify the party establishments' choices, were there?

            Let's see…..Debbie Wasserman Schultz….wanna go there?

            BTW….thanks for all the info you presented to answer my questions about Hicks' qualifications and grassroots support. Thanks for filling me in on all the things he will do for the benefit of average Coloradans. So far, it seems all you care about is judges. Which one of T***ps' nominees you think any of the primary candidates will support?

              I can only surmise that you prefer a republican that calls himself a Democrat. Your assertion that only Hick can defeat Gardner is bogus. But it doesn"t matter. In order to win this race, Hick will have to expose himself. He is vulnerable because of his record, particularly on climate change.

            His claim that he was responsible for the EPA rules is as big a lie as his fracking fluid nonsense. Hick is not going to get this nomination by default. He is going to have to earn it.


            • RepealAndReplace says:

              "I am not a Bernie supporter"

              But I'm guessing you were four years ago.

              • Duke Cox says:

                Yeah…4 years ago, Warren wasn't running.

                The DNC did what they did and it is well documented. 

                Are you not aware that one of the things that motivated Putin to go all in on supporting Trump, was not his love for Trump but his absolute hatred of Hillary? He was seeking retribution for her meddling in the Ukrainian elections. I daresay he might not have done so if Bernie had been representing the Democrats.

                You may try to rewite history all you want, or to dodge the questions I keep asking you, but it doesn't change reality. 

                Hick has bullied his way into a race for a seat he didn't want. For a job he won't like.


                • MADCO says:

                  Why: Power and influence to protect wealthy friends and name recognition.

                • Voyageur says:

                  For the sole purpose of pissing you off, Duke!

                  Plus the fact that your candidate lost his last two races. A fact you never admit.

                  • Duke Cox says:

                    Of course I admit it, V.  It is a fact.I don't deny facts.

                    But what you and R&R are selling isn't fact. It is supposition, based on opinion. I don't buy your conviction that ONLY the great and powerful Frackenlooper can defeat the MOST VULNERABLE senator in the country.

                    Hey!…I know…why don't we nominate a candidate who was chosen as one of the most effective legislators in the country, based on his service as Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. Gosh, don't you think someone like that might have a chance?

                    Oh…that's right. Only money matters and the election is next week….nevermind.

                    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                      If Hickenlooper gets the nomination, one could wonder if Duke will sit that one out.

                      As for Gardner being the "MOST VULNERABLE," that could change once the far right wing, dark money, PACs weigh in. All those billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Mercer family saved a lot of money from Trump's tax cut for them and they will have money to spend.

                    • MichaelBowman says:

                      I think I speak for Duke, myself and a few others here: while our choice in the primary may be different than some here, we will be voting for the Democrat in 2020, whomever he or she may be. 

                      I get the "money not spent in Colorado can be spent elsewhere" argument.  I just summarily dismiss the idea there is just one Democrat in our state that can defeat the man from Yuma. Every time I drive across CD-4 and see yet another small community with a new school or drive through a string of new wind turbines I'm reminded of just what a footprint his leadership left on our rural landscape.  He's a good man, deserves my support in the primary, and we'll let the cards fall where they may.  

                    • Duke Cox says:

                      That is correct, Michael. If Hick is the candidate, I will vote for him. Will you, CHB, vote for Andrew if he is the nominee?

                    • Voyageur says:

                      I have no problem with the reasonable voice of Michael and others arguing for Andrew.  I do grow weary of the bagpipes and howitzers that the 10 percent of Democrats supporting Andrew hurl at the 60 percent who support Hick.  

                      I was among the remaining 30 percent who felt it was time to elect a woman, namely the splendid Alice Madden.

                      If I were to chose solely on ability now, I'd lean to Trish Zornio.   But if electability is the prime rule — and with the fascist squadrons at the gates, it probably is — I find it hard to back two-time loser Romo over five-time winner Hick.

                      So, kill the bagpipes.  We'll drink a cup of fracking fluid to old lang Sias.

                      Oops, wrong party.

                      We'll drink a cup of craft beer to the latest old white guy we send to Washington.

                      Let he who owned the most brew pubs win!

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Correction V. Five Kavanaughs and one Amy Coney Barrett which Trump is saving for Ginsburg's seat.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      "Federal and state support in the general should take care of it"

      You do realize that every dollar that the DSCC would need to spend to introduce any of the low-name recognition candidates to Colorado voters in the fall of 2020 is a dollar that is not available to spend on Dem candidates in Iowa, Maine, or North Carolina?

      Hick's nomination means the national party does not need to spend much money in Colorado.

  6. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    The thread ran out of Reply buttons. I'm asked if I will vote for Andrew Romanoff if he is the Dem nominee for Senate. Let me answer this way.

    Gardner, from my perspective as a common sense conservative, has done some good things for our public lands, even though he is the only Colorado senator since 1964 to never sponsor a Colorado wilderness bill. Unfortunately, Cory has also largely squandered whatever he has gained from his environmental good work.

    He is too much of a toady for the oil & gas industry. While Ed Perlmutter gets out in his district for "Government in the Grocery," Cory is seldom seen in the state unless it is an ultra safe venue. Cory went from correctly calling Trump a "buffoon" in the 2016 campaign to now being one of Trump's most avid boot lickers and ass kissers. 

    Time is growing short for Cory to secure, or re-secure, the votes of Never-Trump Republicans like me. Otherwise, Hickenlooper waits in the wings, unless the Dem circular firing squad comes back.

    • Voyageur says:

      When you run out of reply buttons, go back up the chain until you find one and hit it. The program will put your reply in the proper order, as it di d with my "I have no problem…" Reply above.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Jeez, CHB, your answer to a very simple question reminds me of Elizabeth Warren's non-response to the question last Tuesday night of whether she would raise middle class taxes to pay for MFA. Am I correct in concluding you are a definite undecided?

      While I support Hick in the primary, like Michael and Duke, I will vote for the Dem nominee whoever he or she may be simply to get rid of Gardner. In fact, if Andrew were to miraculously win the nomination, I'd also send me him money.

      But I am concerned about running a base-only strategy instead of trying to win over those 39% of Colorado voters who are unaffiliated. There is a reason Jason Crow won and it was not by running on MFA or free college tuition for upper middle class people. Hick gets us more of those independents than Andrew or the lesser know Dems running.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Did not watch the debate. However, smarter people are beginning to figure out that MFA would be a costly fiasco and boondoggle. Better to improve ObamaCare.

        • Duke Cox says:

          so your answer is …no.

          You are going to vote for Cory unless Hick is the nominee.
          Why am I not surprised…you will only vote for a Republican…Hick or Gardner? Amirite?
          And you will vote for Trump, too? Unless you can get a Republican lite, say a Klobuchar or a Biden. Yeah…I got it.

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