Nobody Wanted To Throw Money Down Deep Colorado Wells

One of Deep Colorado Wells’ many anti-Polis billboards.

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul followed up yesterday with one of the biggest individual funders pumping message dollars into the 2022 elections, Weld County oil and gasman millionaire Steve Wells. Back in September, Wells made a big splash with his announcement that he would spend millions in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl in an attempt to counter wealthy incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ overwhelming financial advantage.

But now we know thanks to the Sun, who reported originally in their Unaffiliated newsletter last week, that Steve Wells’ “Deep Colorado Wells” were more like holding tanks for money that went mostly unspent:

Wells says he has refunded himself about $7 million from the super PAC, Deep Colorado Wells, that he formed to defeat Polis and support Republican candidates, leaving about $850,000 in the committee’s coffers for future political spending.

Wells said he always intended to spend the full $11 million but that he stopped at $3.3 million about a month before Election Day after he realized other GOP donors weren’t going to open their wallets in Colorado and as he saw how much money Polis, a wealthy self-funding candidate, was dedicating to his reelection bid…

A few fake last-minute polls and lots of hot air notwithstanding, the race between Polis and Ganahl was never close, with every credible poll showing her losing by 10 points or more going into the campaign’s final weeks. As Ganahl mired herself in disastrously silly right-wing sideshows like the quest to prove that “furries” are overrunning Colorado’s public schools, Ganahl’s decline in the polls accelerated toward her eventual 19-point defeat on Election Day.

But incredibly, Steve Wells doesn’t blame Ganahl, but rather fellow Republican donors who refused to pony up:

Wells, whose fortune comes from oil and gas drilling on his 40,000-acre Weld County ranch, said he has severed ties with some wealthy GOP donors over their unfulfilled financial commitments.

“It’s changed who I do business with,” Wells said without getting specific. “If you want to sit and piss and moan and bitch about your taxes and crime and all this shit and do absolutely nothing, then get the hell away from me, because I don’t have time for that.”

…Wells said he doesn’t blame Ganahl for her loss, and he doesn’t regret supporting her candidacy rather than directing his money toward other candidates. [Pols emphasis] He figured that supporting Ganahl would provide a boost to all Republicans running this year. Wells also thought other GOP donors would follow his lead.

There’s no nice way to say this, but the “wealthy GOP donors” who refused to throw good money after Wells’ bad money did so based on a realistic assessment that this race was unwinnable, and they were right. This was money spent unimaginatively (see cheesy representative billboard above) by an individual with little to no political experience. The fact that Steve Wells didn’t have anyone to tell him he was on a fool’s errand is Wells’ problem and no one else’s.

This is not an attempt to defend the strategic choices made by Republican donors in the 2022 election cycle as a whole. But in the case of Heidi Ganahl, no responsible strategist with the ear of any GOP funder would have advised to keep pumping money into Ganahl’s lost cause–especially at the expense of races like the Eighth Congressional District, where a few million dollars might have gone much farther in support of Barb Kirkmeyer.

Like self-funding lost cause Joe O’Dea, Wells was a fool easily parted with lots of his money.

May both of them learn lessons from the losses they were unable to cut.

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    Perhaps Mr. Wells can join the "Save Colorado Project," most recently seen in the Boot Barn parking lot across from the Colorado GOP office.  I didn't read any comment from them specifically about Ganahl's campaign, so don't know if she was part of the problems or not.  But going on what was reported,

    “We have a Republican Party that is full of whores. They listened to the consultants, right? They keep telling you about messaging, right? They are liars — they have done something different. They have not held to the Republican platform, which is conservative. They’ve not held to the U.S. Constitution. And then you wonder why these asswipes can’t win a race.”

    I'm not sure what they mean, as last I looked, the RNC explicitly refused to create a platform for the 2020 cycle — and then got touchy about it.  The Colorado GOP doesn't seem to have a platform but does report their "APPROVED | Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention Resolutions" from Saturday, April 9, 2022. 

    So, running without listening to consultants, focusing on allegiance to Trump's America First agenda and a set of resolutions rejected by Colorado voters, and avoiding present party "whores" and "asswipes."   A great basis for future Republican efforts.


  2. Washopingmylastpostwouldbemylast says:

    So Hidey only got her “blameless” furry paws on $3.3M of Wells’s meat? That’s still a crazy wasted lunatic amount of chickenfeed puppy chow ground round.

    “You say it’s only 3.3, but all the ladies tell me it feels like 11.”

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    This is funny. Wells blames his foolishness, regarding his funding of Ganahl, on other donors who prudently held onto their money. Wells drank deep from the Trump/MAGA Kool-Aid bucket for which he has only himself to blame.

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