Walker Stapleton will inch up to the line of launching his campaign for governor this month at a private fundraiser where tickets cost as much as $10,000 per couple.
But the Republican state treasurer won’t make it official, and a key reason is money.
The longer Stapleton waits before formally announcing his bid for Colorado’s top job, the more he can help steer unlimited sums of money toward a super PAC-style group that is expected to provide his artillery during the campaign.
It’s a setup that watchdogs said could stretch the limits of Colorado election law, even as it projects Stapleton’s fundraising might — particularly toward his rivals in the GOP primary.
And it’s yet another sign that the 2018 race to replace Gov. John Hickenlooper is likely to surpass spending records in Colorado gubernatorial elections.
The upcoming Aug. 21 fundraiser for Stapleton will be held at the Cherry Hills Village home of Republican booster Greg Maffei, and the host committee is a who’s who of the party’s money class, notably beer magnate Pete Coors, Broncos legend John Elway and businessman Larry Mizel, according to a copy of the invitation.
The proceeds, however, won’t go into Stapleton’s campaign fund — as he doesn’t have one yet.
Instead, the windfall will be routed to an independent expenditure committee called Better Colorado Now, an outfit run by political consultant Andy George, a co-worker of longtime Stapleton adviser Michael Fortney at the Denver-based firm Clear Creek Strategies.
Steering the money there helps Stapleton in a number of ways — starting with the amount…
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