Denver election dominated by big-money donors
Wealthy donors continue to dominate Denver's election, donating millions to super PACs in an effort to influence the April 4 vote.
Why it matters: The outside money is playing a large role, dwarfing campaign spending by mayor and city council candidates and elevating powerful special interests to the forefront.
State of play: About 25% of total donations came from just 10 donors this election cycle, an Axios Denver analysis of public finance reports shows.
Zoom in: Most of the big donors are helping boost Democrat Mike Johnston in the mayor's race through Advancing Denver, an independent political committee that spent more than $1.7 million to promote his candidacy.
- The group's top donor is LinkedIn co-founder and Silicon Valley investor Reid Hoffman, who gave $780,000. Hoffman is a longtime Johnston supporter who also gave big to the candidate's failed 2018 campaign for governor.
- Four other donors gave large sums: hedge fund manager Steve Mandel; former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry; investor Reuben Munger; and money manager Art Reimer.
Of note: The second largest donor in the mayor's race is Republican candidate Andy Rougeot, who contributed $754,000 to his own campaign.
- Kelly Brough, another top contender for mayor, is getting a huge boost from the super PAC A Better Denver, which is backed by the national realtors association.
- Leslie Herod is benefiting from $180,000 in contributions from Ready Denver, a dark-money organization that didn't disclose donors.
Between the lines: City taxpayers are the actual top contributor with $5.3 million allocated to dozens of candidates through what's called the Fair Elections Fund.
- The public financing is intended to diminish the power of major donors, but it's not quite leveling the playing field.
More Denver stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.