Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell on Monday called on primary rival Doug Robinson to return campaign contributions he’s received from Utah residents — including Mitt Romney, Robinson’s uncle, and other members of the Romney clan — but Robinson rejected the demand and mocked Mitchell’s fundraising record.
Robinson, a former investment advisor, reported raising $206,532 during the fundraising quarter just ended, including $35,299 from 52 donors who live in Utah, amounting to 17 percent of Robinson’s total fundraising haul. Robinson reported receiving the maximum $1,150 contributions from the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, his wife, Ann Romney, and their son Josh Romney.
“Colorado is in a fierce competition for jobs and investment, and one of our key regional challengers is the state of Utah,” said Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former state lawmaker from Douglas County. “A candidate who is so reliant on donors from that state couldn’t possibly avoid conflicts and uncompromisingly lead Colorado to win any and all economic development battles with Utah.”
Robinson called Mitchell’s challenge “ridiculous,” compared him to the Democratic incumbent and pointed to the $13,098 total contributions received in the most recent quarter by Mitchell, who seeded his campaign with a $3 million check in February. (Robinson loaned his campaign $57,022, according to his campaign finance report.)
“It seems like Victor has taken Gov. (John) Hickenlooper’s recent lesson in political grandstanding to heart,” Robinson told Colorado Politics. “I’d call on him to return some of his donations as well, but as he’s been almost completely unable to garner any support, I suppose that challenge would be just as ridiculous as his.”
Mitchell said in a statement that he wasn’t opposed to Colorado candidates accepting contributions from out-of-state candidates but called the level of support Robinson received from a single state “unacceptable.”
“We’ve already got a governor who’s trying to turn us into a version of California; we certainly don’t need a new governor who’d cede our economic future to Utah,” Mitchell said, again referring to Hickenlooper, who faces term limits after next year’s election.
Mitchell also demanded Robinson give back the $1,150 in contributions Robinson received from Florida-based Mednax Inc. Federal PAC, charging that a Mednax company, Pediatrix, has been investigated for Medicaid billing issues in Colorado and agreed to pay more than $25 million to settle claims. He also said he wants Robinson to return a donation from a Douglas County pediatric cardiologist who works for Mednax.
“No candidate for governor should knowingly accept donations from business interests that bill Medicaid, especially when the company has Mednax’s history of scandal,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I know that I won’t.”
Robinson and Mitchell are among the eight Republicans who have filed to run for governor of Colorado in next year’s election, and several more are expected to join the field. The other declared candidates are 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, early Trump supporter Steve Barlock, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez and activists Jim Lennart Rundberg and Joanne Silva.
Campaign finance reports for state candidates are due by midnight Monday.