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Republican Owen Hill shatters fundraising record in primary race against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn

Author: Ernest Luning - July 6, 2017 - Updated: July 7, 2017

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State Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, speaks at a rally in support of Senate Bill 156 on Feb. 27, 2017, on the east steps of the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)State Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, speaks at a rally in support of Senate Bill 156 on Feb. 27, 2017, on the east steps of the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

State Sen. Owen Hill, a Colorado Springs Republican, plans to report he’s raised $225,000 for his primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a six-term incumbent, eclipsing previous fundraising records in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District in the decade since Lamborn has been in office.

The 35-year-old lawmaker will report he has $195,000 cash on hand at the end of the 2nd fundraising quarter, which wrapped up last Friday, Colorado Politics has learned. Of his 359 donors, his campaign said 85 percent are from Colorado, and the rest are mostly members of Hill’s extended family.

Congressional candidates are required to file campaign finance reports for the just-concluded quarter with the Federal Election Commission by July 17.

A spokesman for Lamborn said the congressman is on a fact-finding trip in the Pacific until Monday with the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Hill’s total outpaces the $140,639 raised by Republican Bentley Rayburn in the final quarter of 2007 — he was locked in a three-way primary trying to unseat Lamborn, who won the seat the year before — and the $116,491 posted by Lamborn in the 3rd quarter of 2008, the previous high marks for contributions in the district since Lamborn won the seat in 2006. (Lamborn has won the heavily Republican seat only once without having to get past a primary.)

Calling it a “humbling experience,” Hill told Colorado Politics he and his wife, Emily, “are ecstatic with this report, because it is living proof that strong conservative leadership is popular in our district and explains why we’re still so fed up with a do-nothing DC and lack of current representation.”

Lamborn reported raising $41,650 in the 1st quarter — nearly all of it from political action committees — and had $334,092 cash on hand. As of Thursday, he hadn’t yet filed a campaign finance report for the 2nd quarter.

While some other candidates have said they’ve set records with their fundraising this year, those distinctions have been for raising the most money during a quarter in a non-election year. Hill’s haul is higher than any quarterly report any year in the decade since Lamborn has been an incumbent.

Lamborn raised $286,214 in the 3rd quarter and $244,414 in the 4th quarter in 2006, when the seat was last open, after long-time incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley decided against seeking an 11th term.

Lamborn challenger Robert Blaha poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his primary campaign in 2012, although the highest amount he raised in contributions for any quarter was $58,190.

Hill came out swinging when he launched his campaign to unseat Lamborn on April 3, at the start of the quarter. “Our community is looking for someone in Washington who will do more than simply vote the ‘right way’ sometimes,” Hill said. “They’re looking for a public servant who truly serves the people in District 5 by being a leader, being active in investing in the community and actually taking sides and fighting for answers when necessary.”

On Thursday, Hill said the numbers he plans to report are great but added that they’re only part of the picture.

“I hear a lot about money in politics and fundraising deadlines,” he said. “But here’s what all of this means to me and our campaign: that there is a real energy and enthusiasm from hundreds of individuals, business owners, those involved with our military, neighbors and friends investing in CD5, who were willing to sacrifice financially to invest in my campaign and in real community-centered conservative leadership.”

CORRECTION: This story initially failed to note the higher sums raised by Lamborn in the 2006 race when the 5th Congressional District was an open seat with a crowded primary. Hill’s record stands as the most raised in contributions since Lamborn has been an incumbent, but Lamborn raised more during the two quarters closest to the General Election in 2006.

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.


One comment

  • Mary

    July 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    The Springs is thriving with well-compensated jobs, and high paying companies are just begging to get into El Paso County. By all means…let’s continue doing what we’ve been doing. (insert eye-roll emoji here.)

    Reply

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