Democrat Levi Tillemann plans to report raising $166,800 in 6th Congressional District primary

Author: Ernest Luning - October 5, 2017 - Updated: October 5, 2017

Levi Tillemann waits to speak at a stop on a listening tour held by Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 68 hall in Denver. Tillemann said he plans to announce within days that he's running in the Democratic primary in Colorado's 6th Congressional District. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)Levi Tillemann waits to speak at a stop on a listening tour held by Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 68 hall in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Levi Tillemann, one of three Democrats trying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, will report raising $166,800 in the most recent fundraising period, he told Colorado Politics.

Tillemann received contributions from 615 individual donors and didn’t accept money from political action committees, he said. His campaign plans to report roughly $111,000 cash on hand at the end of September.

“We have a really solid footing for our campaign,” he said Thursday. “I think we’ve shown we’re in the top tier of challenger candidates in the state. We have a lot of grassroots support — small donors and real people who are invested in taking back the country for progressives and moving our nation forward.”

The author and former Obama administration Energy Department official got in the race in early July at the beginning of the quarter after running an exploratory committee for about two months.

The committee drew fire from a conservative organization that charged  Tillemann with using it to keep early fundraising from scrutiny, and some district Democrats filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging Tillemann went beyond “testing the waters.” Tillemann rejected the criticism, saying the operation was ‘well within the boundaries of election law.” He said Thursday he brought in around $30,000 via the exploratory committee, noting that those donations will show up on his report.

Reports from the 3rd Quarter are due to the FEC by Oct. 15. Tillemann’s detailed campaign finance report wasn’t yet available.

Neither Coffman nor the other Democrats running for the seat — attorneys Jason Crow and David Aarestad  — had filed their 3rd Quarter reports or released fundraising totals by Thursday afternoon. At the end of June, Coffman reported he’d raised $712,362 and had $505,572 in the bank. Crow, who launched his candidacy in April, reported bringing in $293,582 during the last quarter with $247,279 on hand. Aarestad raised $54,265 and had $40,561 in the bank.

Coffman has fended off Democratic challengers including former Senate President Morgan Carroll and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the last three elections, since the 6th District was drawn into one of the most competitive seats in the country. National Democrats are targeting the seat again because it’s one of roughly two dozen districts nationwide held by a Republican but won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In addition to being one of the closest congressional races in the country in recent cycles, it’s also been among the most expensive. Last year, Coffman and Carroll raised roughly $6.5 million between them, and outside groups poured in at least $13 million, according to

Election forecasters rank the seat as a toss-up, citing the political mood and Crow’s status as a combat veteran in a district where Coffman has had a monopoly on the distinction.

On Monday, Tillemann said, he signed a pledge inspired by the Climate Hawks Vote organization not to take more than $200 in contributions from oil, gas or coal executives.

“We’re going to win this on ideas and passion and organization and the progressive vision for the future of Colorado and America that voters are hungering for,” he said.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.