UPDATE 5/12: In a stunning announcement Sunday, state Rep. Rochelle Galindo, the Greeley Democrat facing a campaign to recall her from office, said she is resigning from the legislature immediately, citing unspecified allegations against her. More details here.
The recall fight surrounding Democratic Rep. Rochelle Galindo is shaping up as a proxy war, with outside money dominating the effort, according to the latest campaign finance filings on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
With less than a month to go before recall proponents must turn in 5,696 valid signatures to force a recall election, 99.76 percent of the money donated to push — or fight — the recall has come from outside of Galindo’s House District 50.
The district includes portions of east Greeley, as well as Garden City and parts of Evans.
Still, representatives from the pro- and anti-recall side bristle at the “proxy fight” moniker.
Stacey Kjeldgaard, a recall effort organizer, said the people signing the petitions to recall Galindo aren’t a proxy.
“This is the first fight to bring back common sense to Colorado and Weld County will lead the way,” Kjeldgaard said via text message.
“The thousands of HD50 voters who have signed the petitions don’t think this is a ‘proxy’ fight. This is a fight for their families, their jobs, their schools, their communities.”
Curtis Hubbard, spokesman for Democracy First Colorado, which has raised about $75,000 to fight the recall effort, said it’s unfair to
look at the recall fight through the lens of a “proxy war.”
“We’re coming to the defense of lawmakers who are being targeted in unfair recalls that are being pushed by what is widely believed to be special interests and scammers.”
Democracy First Colorado and Our Colorado Way of Life are both largely bankrolled by Washington, D.C.,-based organizations, including the dark money group America Votes, and Galindo’s own committee doesn’t have any local donations since the recall effort was launched in late March. Those groups have raised about $124,000 to date.
Hubbard said there will be more support from within Colorado in upcoming filings.
Galindo stressed that her supporters have been out in the community.
“This is not a fight I asked for but we are fighting back with grassroots volunteer-driven work and we have already talked to thousands of HD50 residents,” Galindo said. “Their out of district money shows that this is not something being supported by the community.”
The Committee to Recall Rochelle Galindo has raised about $105,000, and so far $540 of that has come from House District 50 residents, although donations have poured in from around Weld County and Colorado, according to the group’s Thursday filing.
There could be more to come, as group organizer Stacey Kjeldgaard, a former chairwoman of the Weld County GOP, told The Tribune more than a month ago that the group had solicited pledges of $300,000, including pledged donations from oil and gas companies.
When asked about those promises, Kjeldgaard said via text that she anticipates money coming in throughout the campaign.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” she said, adding that the money is still pledged but the group may not need it because of strong
Kjeldgaard’s group has spent nearly $60,000, including $50,000 to hire Lincoln Strategy Group, which specializes in signature gathering and voter turnout operations. That firm’s founder, Nathan Sproul, has been a major player in national politics, previously under the banner of Sproul and Associates, which did work for the McCain-Palin presidential campaign.
But the Republican Party and Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign severed ties to Sproul after widespread allegations of voter fraud that eventually led to felony charges for three employees but no consequences for the company, according to national reporting from The New York Times and Fortune.
Sproul was back in the fold during the 2016 presidential campaign, earning $1.8 million for get-out-the-vote efforts for the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump For President.
The Committee to Recall Rochelle Galindo spent another $5,500 to hire polling group Wenzel Strategies, which has done numerous polls for World Net Daily, a fringe online website known for promoting conspiracy theories.
Kjeldgaard didn’t respond to questions about either group.