Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser surpasses fundraising record he set last quarter

Author: Ernest Luning - October 3, 2017 - Updated: October 3, 2017

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 broke a record he set in the last fundraising quarter, raking in $368,000 for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, his campaign announced Tuesday. It’s more money than any attorney general candidate has raised in a quarter since the imposition of strict campaign finance limits on Colorado races following the 2002 election cycle.

The former CU Law School dean and one-time Obama administration official plans to report roughly $679,000 cash on hand, his campaign said. Campaign finance reports are due to the Colorado secretary of state Oct. 16.

Weiser set the previous off-year fundraising record in the last quarter, ending June 30, when he reported just under $360,000 in contributions. He also reported raising more in the 2nd Quarter than any other statewide candidate, including candidates running in both parties’ primaries for governor.

Weiser is one of five Democrats running for the office held by Republican incumbent Cynthia Coffman, who hasn’t said whether she plans to seek a second term or run for governor in next year’s election. Weiner is the first of the attorney general candidates to release his fundraising figure this quarter.

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

“We are excited that this continued momentum reinforces what we experience every day on the campaign – that Coloradans are responding to our message that we need an attorney general committed to making progress and protecting our Colorado way of life. As our next attorney general, I will defend our constitutional freedoms, fight for opportunities for all Coloradans, and protect our land, air and water, enabling our next generation to thrive here.”

According to Weiser’s campaign, he had 1,197 donors, up from 765 in the previous quarter — making for nearly 2,000 unique donors since launching his campaign.

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

Weiser out-raised all of the other attorney general candidates combined in the 2nd quarter, reporting almost twice the total contributions brought in by Levin, Dougherty, Salazar and Coffman. (Padden  didn’t launch her campaign until August, about midway through the 3rd Quarter, so hasn’t filed a campaign finance report yet.)

Before Weiser set and then reset the record for off-year fundraising by an attorney general candidate under Colorado’s current campaign finance laws, the highest previously reported haul was the $69,394 raised by Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, in the 2nd quarter of 2005. Suthers was appointed attorney general in January 2005 after his predecessor, Democrat Ken Salazar, won a race for the U.S. Senate.

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.