Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler announces members of campaign finance committee

Author: Ernest Luning - August 10, 2017 - Updated: August 10, 2017

District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor in the 2018 election, addresses the Arapahoe County GOP assembly on March 29, 2016, in Englewood. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Prosecutor George Brauchler, a Republican candidate for governor of Colorado, on Wednesday announced more than a dozen members of his campaign’s finance committee. The list includes several prominent GOP donors who have contributed in past cycles to one of Brauchler’s likely primary opponents.

“I am not one of the many millionaire self-funders in this race,” Brauchler, a colonel in the Colorado Army National Guard and district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, said in a statement. “I cannot just scratch out a check and expect to buy the governorship. It’s not for sale.”

Announced Republican candidates for governor include entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, who seeded his campaign with a $3 million check, and former investment banker Doug Robinson, who loaned his campaign nearly $60,000 in the last fundraising quarter.

There are seven Republicans running for governor in next year’s election, and the list is likely to grow in coming months. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term-limited.

Brauchler said he’s proud of the “diverse and strong” fundraising team he has assembled because “the gas to fill up the family van costs money” as he travels the state.

Three couples will serve as co-chairs of his finance committee: Tanis and Lou Hutchison, Mary Margaret and Gary Wright, and Diane and Harold Smethills. The other members include Brad Coors, Amy and Chris Dorsey, Linda and Rick Enstrom, Steve Foster, Kim Haarberg and David Mandarich.

Lou Hutchison, Harold Smethills, Coors and Mandarich all made substantial campaign contributions during previous election cycles to State Treasurer Walker Stapleton — a likely candidate for governor — although only Hutchison gave Stapleton the maximum donation, according to campaign finance records.

Brauchler reported raising $190,696 in the fundraising quarter that ended June 30, and nearly all of it was from in-state donors. Including contributions received in July, he’s received donations from every one of Colorado’s 64 counties, a campaign spokesman said. Brauchler trailed Robinson’s fundraising for the quarter by about $15,000, although the two substantially out-raised the other Republican gubernatorial candidates who were in the race in time to report fundraising for the quarter.

“I am determined to prove that a kid from middle-class Lakewood can work his way up to the highest office in the state,” Brauchler said Wednesday.

Other Republicans in the field include prominent Trump supporter Steve Barlock, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez and activist Jim Rundberg.

In addition to Stapleton, in the news recently for helping a super PAC-like operation raise unlimited amounts of money that could support his campaign, potential GOP gubernatorial candidates include former CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham, who spent close to $2 million on a U.S. Senate run last year on the way to a second-place finish.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, an Internet entrepreneur and by some measures the second-wealthiest member of Congress, seeded his campaign with $250,000 last quarter and has the potential to spend many millions more.

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.