More than $200K donated to Boulder election causes, candidates so far

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

Boulderites (and a handful of out-of-towners) have collectively given more than $200,000 to the various groups stumping for and against candidates and measures on this year’s Boulder ballot, according to campaign finance records filed with the city 28 days ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

Local elections are rarely big-money affairs, particularly since Boulder tightened its regulations in 2018. Strict rules govern disclosure; contributions of even a few dollars are recorded with the donor’s name and physical address, and published online at regular intervals.

Most contributions are small. The average gift is about $100, though a few people have dropped $1,000 or more. About 100 individuals gave an average of $10,000 to each candidate, though it’s a wide range: From 18 (Jacques Decalo) to 156 (Dr. Nicole Speer) unique donors and total spends between $1,265 (again, Decalo) and Tara Winer ($15,924).

These dollars from ordinary Boulderites fund newspaper and social media ads. They purchase yard signs, literature dropped off on doorsteps and flyers sent to mailboxes.

Boulder Beat analyzed publicly available records for every campaign and candidate committee. All election reports can be found at bouldercolorado.gov/elections/election-committee-filings. Downloadable files, used for this analysis, can be found at bouldercolorado.gov/elections/election-reports

Here are the highlights.

Total funds raised: $202,872
– Candidates: $137,424
– Ballot measures: $65,447
Average contribution: $106.87

Highest total fundraise: Bedrooms Are For People – $26,133.56
– Second place goes to Protect Our Neighbors, which is advocating against Question 302, at $17,794. Together, Bedrooms and Protect account for more than one-fifth of all elections donations so far.

Most donors: Forward Boulder (FRWRD) – 161 unique donors
– Bedrooms Are For People are a close second, at 158 unique donors

Highest average contribution: NO on Bedroom$ – $311.92
(total raise divided by # of unique donors) NO on Bedrooms$ is an outlier. Most individuals donating to candidates gave between $65 and $100 each; ballot issues were a little speedier, with each person giving somewhere in the $170 range. NO on Bedroom$ is the only campaign to break the $200 per person average contribution mark — by a lot.

Official candidate committees

Total contributions: $101,100
Average donation: $83.38

Total raised (highest to lowest)
Tara Winer: $15,924
Steve Rosenblum: $11,374
Michael Christy: $11,130
Matt Benjamin: $11,034
Lauren Folkerts: $10,867
Nicole Speer: $10,867
Dan Williams: $10,866
Mark Wallach: $10,683
David Takahashi: $7,091
Jacques Decalo: $1,265

Unique donors (most to least)
Nicole Speer: 156
Lauren Folkerts: 147
Tara Winer: 139
Michael Christy: 132
Dan Williams: 130
Steve Rosenblum: 128
Mark Wallach: 127
Matt Benjamin: 125
David Takahashi: 93
Jacques Decalo: 18

Average contribution (lowest to highest)
Nicole Speer: $69.66
Jacques Decalo: $70.28
Lauren Folkerts: $73.92
David Takahashi: $76.25
Dan Williams: $83.59
Mark Wallach: $84.12
Michael Christy: $84.32
Matt Benjamin: $88.27
Steve Rosenblum: 88.86
Tara Winer: $114.56
Author’s note: Many candidates loaned their campaigns money, sometimes thousands of dollars, which has been or will be repaid. Repayments are accounted for in these totals, but not all candidates have repaid the loans yet.

Campaign contributions by slate

The Coalition: $43,633 total, 558 donors, $78.20 average contribution
Candidates: Nicole Speer, Lauren Folkerts, Matt Benjamin, Dan Williams

FRWRD/Safer Boulder/T4B/Think: $49,111 total, 526 donors, $93.37 average contribution
Candidates: Michael Christy, Tara Winer, Steve Rosenblum, Mark Wallach

Yates Slate: $60,144.16, 651 donors, $92.39 average contribution
Candidates: FRWRD et al + Matt Benjamin

PLAN-Boulder: $40,736 total, 544 donors, $74.88 average contribution
Candidates: FRWRD et al + Jacques Decalo

Read: What are slates, anyway? Boulder Beat

Unofficial candidate committees

Total contributions: $36,324
Average contribution: $84.46

Total raised
Forward Boulder: $14,779
The Coalition: $6,205
Boulder Progressives: $5,689.98
Boulder is For People: $3,895
Sierra Club: $2,175
Better Boulder: $1,120
United Campus Workers Colorado: $260

Unique donors
Forward Boulder: 161
Boulder Progressives: 83
The Coalition: 66
Boulder is For People: 51
Sierra Club: 23
Better Boulder: 13
UCW: 4

Average contribution
UCW: $65
Boulder Progressives: $68.56
Boulder is For People: $76.34
Better Boulder: $86.15
Forward Boulder: $91.79
The Coalition: $94
Sierra Club: $109.38

Ballot measure committees

Total contributions: $65,447
Average contribution: $204.77

Question 300 – Bedrooms Are For People

Total contributions: $37,987
– For (Bedrooms Are For People): $26,134
– Against: (NO on Bedroom$): $11,853

Unique donors
– For: 158
– Against: 38

Average contribution
– For: $165.40
– Against: $311.92

Question 302 – Let the Voters Decide on Annexation of CU South

Total contributions: $27,460
– For (Save CU South): $9,666
– Against (Protect Our Neighbors): $17,794

Unique donors
– For: 59
– Against: 100

Average contribution
– For: $163.83
– Against: $177.94

Author’s note: Two official committees for and against Ballot Question 301 have registered with the city. Neither has raised or spent any funds as of the publication of this article, according to records.

— Shay Castle, @shayshinecastle

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