As the Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish reports, a convenient short-lived primary challenge from a candidate no one has ever heard of has provided Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl the chance to undo an odd and inexplicable error she made early in her campaign (among so very, very many), accepting campaign spending limits prescribed by Amendment 27 in order to increase her per-donor contribution maximum:
As the Colorado Sun reported earlier, the spending-limit pledge is rarely used, and candidates often agree to it only in error. But Ganahl and Pam Anderson, a GOP candidate for secretary of state, both agreed to the limits at the start of their campaigns — on purpose.
By agreeing to a $3.4 million limit spending, Ganahl was able to accept individual campaign donations that were double the traditional $1,250 limit.
There’s an out, however, and Ganahl decided to use it Monday. When another candidate files to enter a contest but doesn’t accept the voluntary spending limits, those who are already in the race and have accepted the limits have the option of backing out of their pledge.
And that’s exactly what happened when someone named Bradley Wynn of Denver filed to run for governor as a Republican on January 18, only to formally withdraw from the race ten days later rather than file the required personal financial disclosure. We don’t know anything about Bradley Wynn, with no political donation history in Colorado we can find, and Wynn claims he doesn’t know Ganahl. But it looks like the pretext Wynn gave Ganahl to back out of the campaign spending limit pledge will be his lifetime contribution to Colorado politics.
As for Ganahl personally, the decision to accept binding spending limits against a self-funding candidate with limitless resources was a silly and amateurish mistake from a campaign typified by such mistakes–one she needed to undo before the general election cycle began. If it comes out that Ganahl colluded with Bradley Wynn to arrange for Ganahl’s window to walk back the campaign spending limit, obviously, that’s a huge problem–and the timing is awfully suspicious.
Absent anything nefarious, Wynn’s brief time in the race was a stroke of luck for a beleaguered candidate who needs all the luck she can get. None of this was necessary, and none of it makes Ganahl look like a frontrunner.