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Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser smashes off-year quarterly fundraising record

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

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Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser mingles with the crowd at the Mizel Foundation's anual dinner on May 24, 2017, at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser mingles with the crowd at the Mizel Foundation’s anual dinner on May 24, 2017, at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser raised roughly $355,000 in the fundraising quarter that closed last week, his campaign announced Wednesday, setting a record for donations under Colorado’s current campaign finance laws.

The former CU Law School dean and one-time Obama administration official said he plans to report more in contributions in a quarter than any other attorney general candidate has in a non-election year since the imposition of strict campaign finance limits on state races more than a decade ago.

“I am humbled that so many Coloradans have embraced our campaign’s vision of effective and progressive leadership,” Weiser said in a statement.

“It is also a powerful reflection that people are responding to our message of defending our constitutional freedoms, fighting for opportunities for all Coloradans and safeguarding our land, air and water in these challenging times.”

Weiser is one of four declared candidates running in the Democratic primary for the chance to challenge the Republican incumbent, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, in next year’s election. He’s the first of Colorado’s attorney general candidate to release a fundraising for the second quarter.

Weiser’s contributions came primarily from donors in Colorado — more than 65 percent of the total funds and roughly the same percentage of individual donors — his campaign said. The campaign didn’t release precise expenditures but said Weiser spent about $20,000, leaving an estimated $335,000 on hand for the quarter, which ended June 30. Detailed reports are due to the Colorado secretary of state by July 17.

His campaign pointed out that Weiser’s campaign launched on May 11, nearly half way through the reporting quarter.

The highest reported quarterly haul by an attorney general candidate in a previous off year was the $69,394 raised by incumbent Republican Attorney General John Suthers in the second quarter of 2005. (Suthers had been appointed to the seat at the beginning of the year after its previous occupant, Democrat Ken Salazar, won a race for the U.S. Senate.)

The other Democratic attorney general candidates are state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton; Michael Dougherty, the deputy district attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin counties and a former top prosecutor in the attorney general’s office; and Denver attorney Brad Levin, who says his experience running a law firm for decades sets him apart from the field.

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. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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