Democratic secretary of state candidate Jena Griswold on Monday reported bringing in a record-setting $86,304 in campaign donations for the just-completed quarter — more than any candidate for the Colorado office has raised during a quarter in an off-year or for any candidate’s initial quarter in the race.
Griswold, a 32-year-old attorney and first-time candidate, raised more for the quarter ending Sept. 30 than the total $79,606 Republican incumbent Wayne Williams has raked in all year. Williams reported raising $24,000 during the most recent quarter and had $48,046 on hand after spending $7,246.
After spending $8,975, Griswold, who launched her campaign in July, had $77,328 in the bank for the 3rd quarter.
“I am grateful for the support we have received from voters throughout Colorado,” Griswold said in a statement. “I am running for secretary of state to increase campaign finance transparency, secure our elections and protect voting rights. We need a secretary of state who will stand up to Donald Trump and stand up for Colorado.”
Her campaign noted that Griswold counted 609 individual contributors with an average donation of $123, compared with the 58 individual contributors averaging $406 donations reported by Williams.
A spokesman for the Williams campaign, however, dismissed Griswold’s numbers as meaningless when it comes to next year’s election.
“Fully two-thirds of Griswold’s large contributions come from out of state, while Williams’ report shows the same thing as his election in 2014: the support of regular Coloradans,” Daniel Cole said, noting he was referring to contributions of $1,000 and up. “And ultimately, regular Coloradans are more powerful than Griswold’s out-of-state donors, because we can vote in Colorado’s elections.”
The previous records for an initial or off-year quarter for a secretary of state candidate were also set by Democrats, although Colorado voters haven’t elected a Democrat as secretary of state since 1958.
The Democrat Williams defeated in 2014 held the distinction before Griswold, when Joe Neguse — a Democratic candidate for Congress this year — reported raising $74,136 during the 3rd quarter of 2013. The previous record haul was set by Democrat Bernie Buescher in the 4th quarter of 2009, when he raised $64,174. He went on to lose to Republican Scott Gessler in the 2010 election.
Another Democrat in the race, Gabriel McArthur, reported raising $94. After spending $112, he finished the quarter $18 in the hole. At press time late Monday, two other Democrats who have filed to run for the seat — Phillip Villard and Jerold Munster — had yet to file campaign finance reports.
Quarterly campaign finance reports for state candidates are due to the secretary of state by midnight Monday.
UPDATED: This story has been updated to include a comment from a Williams campaign spokesman.