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June 05, 2024 02:50 PM UTC

Big Business Playing Heavily in Democratic Senate Primary

  • by: Colorado Pols

Mike Weissman is not the kind of Democrat who should have much trouble winning election to the State Senate in 2024. 

Rep. Mike Weissman (L) and Idris Keith

Weissman is running for the upper chamber in SD-28 (North Aurora) after serving four terms in the State House (HD-36), where he was elected and re-elected by an average margin of about 22 points. The makeup of SD-28 is so overwhelmingly Democratic that the June 25th Primary Election will essentially determine the next State Senator from this district. 

Since there is no hope of a Republican candidate winning in SD-28, the Colorado business lobby has decided to get involved in the Democratic Primary by supporting Idris Keith, an attorney who has previously tried unsuccessfully to run for county commissioner, city council, and the State House of Representatives. Keith appears to be one of those aspiring politicians who really wants to be elected to something; that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be enough to defeat a Democrat with Weissman’s record of accomplishments at the State Capitol.  

Let’s just say this about most Keith donors: They’re not exactly strangers to each other.

So why is this race even worth mentioning?

Because Keith appears to be a willing pawn for Big Business in Colorado — moneyed interests that are giving up on the lost cause that is the Colorado Republican Party and looking at Democratic Primary Elections in order to claw back power under the gold dome. While Keith is a Democrat, he has been endorsed by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, which has long functioned as a de-facto Republican organization. His donor list is a who’s who of Colorado business and health care industry lobbyists, and he is being propped up by at least $320,000 worth of direct mail and digital advertising courtesy of a shady independent expenditure committee (IEC) called “Representation Matters” – a fund that appears to have been created for the sole purpose of challenging Weismann. 

The SD-28 Idris Keith washing machine

And who funds “Representation Matters”?

That’s hard to say, because the money for that IEC gets passed around like a blunt at a college party. In the most recent Colorado campaign finance filings, “Representation Matters” reported receiving $320,000 from a separate Colorado IEC called “Brighter Colorado Futures”…which received its funding from a Washington D.C. Super PAC called “Democracy Wins.” 

The “Democracy Wins” PAC lists on its Federal Elections Commission a website called, which appears to be solely dedicated to defeating Congressperson Lauren Boebert. How this connects to a Democratic Primary for State Senate in Aurora is not at all clear. 

So how did a Democrat with a long record of supporting and passing progressive legislation end up with a Primary opponent funded by Big Business? There’s two reasons:

  1. Weissman championed legislation that Big Business wasn’t happy about
    income tax and business personal property tax changes to funding for affordable housing and – GASP! – consumer protection updates (including HB24-1014 and HB23-1192). 
  2. Colorado Republicans are just unbelievable twits
    You think Rep. Scott “There is No” Bottoms and his sidekick, Rep. Ken “Dildo” DeGraff are going to pass meaningful legislation? House Minority Leader Rose Pugliese lost all credibility when she allowed the inmates to run her caucus asylum. Things are only better for the GOP in the State Senate by comparison.

Republicans aren’t going to have power at the legislature anytime soon, and Big Business sees the writing on the wall: If they want lawmakers to follow their interests over those of the average Coloradan, then they’re going to have to find some of their own people, get them elected in Democratic Primaries, and then start asking for payback.

We’ll find out in a few weeks if that plan is working.


7 thoughts on “Big Business Playing Heavily in Democratic Senate Primary

  1. This is really important. Downballot races are so easily influenced by a bucket of money. When voters get that avalanche of flyers (timed to arrive along with our mail ballots), how are they/we supposed to make heads or tails of them?  Maybe the best option is to vote against candidates who clearly have ultra-wealthy patrons.

    1. You're absolutely right, Joe. IMHO, Idris Keith will be an excellent state senator.

      We already Epps and Hernández in the House. That enough Squad for the General Assembly.

      1. Lots of big healthcare donors.  Healthcare shouldn't be big business.  But welcome to the US, where healthcare is a for-profit business and individuals' health outcomes suffer and life expectancy is much worse than our "peer" nations.    

        1. No Spaceman. You are missing the point. If a group of people can amass a huge fortune then they should be allowed to control our government. If there are consequences to that then it's "the squad" to blame. Big money = good governance. LBiaWPOS explains it better. 

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