Self-funding Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell reports modest fundraising haul

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell, a businessman and former state lawmaker from Castle Rock, pauses for a moment on the way out of a Denver restaurant after an interview with The Colorado Statesman on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell, a businessman and former state lawmaker from Castle Rock, pauses for a moment on the way out of a Denver restaurant after an interview with The Colorado Statesman on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell, who launched his candidacy by writing his campaign a check for $3 million in February, plans to report he still has $2.65 million in the bank after raising $13,098 in the most recent fundraising quarter, a campaign aide told Colorado Politics Thursday.

While that might not sound like much for a statewide race, it’s roughly five times the donations Mitchell received in the 1st fundraising quarter, which ended in March. This time, he raised contributions from 160 donors, 85 percent from within the state, an aide said. Mitchell’s campaign spent $167,039 in the three-month period ending June 30, and the candidate didn’t loan himself any more money.

“We are the grassroots campaign, supported by small donors, not the big-money guys,” said Mitchell, a wealthy Douglas County entrepreneur and former state lawmaker, in a statement. His campaign is resonating with Coloradans, he maintained, noting that he’s received a number of his trademark $20.18 donations “for a people’s victory.”

Since kicking off his run, Mitchell said he’s been to 170 events in 43 of the state’s 64 counties. He declared himself “humbled and proud to carry the banner for these voters who want new leadership from the outside, not from the old-line insider establishment.”

Eight Republicans have filed to run for governor of Colorado in next year’s election, when Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper will face term limits, and several more are expected to join the field in coming months. In addition to Mitchell, the declared candidates are 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, former investment banker and Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson, 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 July 17. While none of the GOP gubernatorial candidates had filed 2nd-quarter reports with the Colorado secretary of state by late Thursday night, Robinson told The Denver Post’s John Frank last week that he raised $208,000 and loaned himself another $57,000.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is expected to announce he’s running before the end of the year, while DaVita Healthcare Partners chief executive Kent Thiry, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and former CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham have also said they’re considering a bid.

Also on Thursday, Mitchell touted a big jump in the number of fans his campaign has attracted on Facebook in the past month, something his advisors claim is a key early indicator of his message’s resonance among voters. Late Thursday, Mitchell’s page displayed 25,711 “likes,” more than double what he boasted in early May. That’s about four times the number of “likes” Robinson’s page showed and well ahead of the other GOP primary candidates.

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