As next week’s primary election nears, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s most recent fundraising reports show her significantly outraising her opponent for the Republican nomination.
But her opponent, state Sen. Don Coram, is less focused on the money and more focused on connecting with voters as he seeks to unseat the freshman congresswoman, according to his campaign.
“We need money to do things, but people are more important,” said JD Key, Coram’s campaign manager.
Boebert has spent more than $3.4 million this election cycle and still has more than $2 million in cash on hand, according to forms filed from the reporting period between April 1 and June 8. Overall, Boebert has raised more than any other U.S. House candidate in the state of Colorado in any of the eight congressional districts. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is the only candidate for federal office, Republican or Democrat, who has raised or spent more than Boebert in the state.
In contrast to Boebert’s well-funded and high-spending campaign, Coram has spent about $114,000 and has almost $112,000 in cash on hand.
“We were never going to raise the millions that she has, we knew that,” Key said. “We’ve raised quite a bit of money for a pretty grassroots campaign. Most of our money has come from our district.”
Candidates were required to submit reports to the Federal Election Commission for the pre-primary period – April 1 to June 8 – by June 13, and must submit a final report Monday before the primary election on Tuesday.
For Democrats, Sol Sandoval leads in spending, having used more than $877,000 and only having about $29,000 remaining as of the June 8 deadline. Alex Walker has spent about $226,000 and has almost $24,000 cash on hand. Walker previously lamented on Twitter about the costs of running his campaign. Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch has self-funded his campaign with a loan of more than $700,000 during this filing period after a previous loan to his own campaign of $1.5 million. Frisch has $627,000 cash on hand.
Two years ago, when Boebert challenged former U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the primary election, she had raised about $152,000, while Tipton raised $1.3 million. Key said in looking at lessons from that race, an important one is that money isn’t the only factor that can measure success for a campaign.
He added that he’s encouraged by the number of Coram donors who live in Colorado and in the 3rd Congressional District.
“We feel very comfortable with where we are right now,” he said.
In the remaining days, Key said the important thing for the campaign is getting people they’ve already connected with to vote. Reaching all 27 counties is crucial, he said.
“We are everywhere we can be, and that’s the No. 1 thing,” he said. “... Wearing out tires, getting to the places that people are is the best way you could ever campaign. Because meeting somebody, talking to them eye-to-eye about issues that you actually care about is going to do much better impact than a 15-second buzzword video on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.”
During the first quarter, Boebert raised more than $800,000, and most of her donors live outside Colorado, FEC reports show. Coram raised more than $89,000 in the first quarter, with most of his donors living in the state.
Nina Heller is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.