Republican state Sen. Greg Brophy was the second member of the GOP to declare his intentions to run for Governor in 2014. As one of the most oft-quoted Republicans in the 2013 legislative session, it was clear that Sen. Brophy was lining up to run for Governor once the session ended in May.
Brophy formally entered the race in July, giving the Colorado public the awesome picture on your right. In September, Brophy's campaign announced that he had received the coveted (among Republicans, anyway) endorsement of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. While we never considered him a viable challenger to Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper, we assumed Brophy's outspokenness in the legislature had helped him raise his name ID among Republicans to a respectable level. And while Brophy's fundraising ability was an unknown quantity when he entered the race for Governor, we assumed that he would be able to raise a decent chunk of change from conservative Republicans.
Brophy's contribution report was among the more surprising and enlightening of the Q3 fundraising period, because it turns out that he is nowhere near ready to be a serious statewide candidate. Yes, Brophy didn't officially register as a candidate until July 19 (19 days into the Q3 fundraising period), but his contribution total of $92,471 may essentially end his campaign before it can really get started. This is an awfully small number for a candidate for governor, and there's no excuse for it to happen. When a candidate under-performs to this degree, it usually means that they (and their staff) seriously miscalculated the real support that was ready to get behind a bid for statewide office.
How bad was Brophy's first fundraising quarter? If you don't include the $5,000 he received from the RMGO PAC and the $3,577 Brophy reported as in-kind contributions from himself, he's only at $83,894 for the quarter. We took a glimpse through financial reports from the previous decade, and the examples make clear Brophy's troubles:
How Candidates for Statewide Office Fared in Their First Fundraising Quarter:
|Marc Holtzman (R)||Governor||Q1/2005||$412,580|
|Bob Beauprez (R)||Governor||Q2/2005||$389,741|
|Rollie Heath (D)||Governor||Q3/2001||$201,335|
|Bill Ritter (D)||Governor||Q2/2005||$164,383|
|Walker Stapleton (R)||Treasurer||Q2/2009||$138,195|
|Greg Brophy (R)||Governor||Q3/2013||$92,471|
|Mike Coffman (R)||Governor*||Q1/2005||$88,097|
|J.J. Ament (R)||Treasurer||Q3/2009||$61,046|
|Dan Maes (R)||Governor||Q2/2004||$5,345|
*Coffman was a candidate for Governor for less than 3 months before being essentially pushed out of the race by Bob Beauprez. Coffman ended up with $88,097 in just two months of fundraising.
As you can see, Brophy raised substantially less money in his first quarter than Holtzman (who never made it to the GOP primary ballot); Heath (the man who holds the title of most lopsided loss in the history of Colorado gubernatorial races); Ritter (who was still generally being ignored by Democrats at that point); and Stapleton (not nearly as well-known among Republicans at the time, and facing a 3-way primary in a much less-interesting race for Treasurer). Brophy barely raised more money in his first fundraising quarter than Coffman, who was a candidate for Governor for about two months.
Brophy could still recover from his Q3 blunder, but with both Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp having entered the field since Brophy's announcement in July, he's got his work cut out for him.
Whatever the future holds for Brophy, this is a great example of how and why early money matters. If your first fundraising quarter is a dud, it stops any momentum a candidate might have built up since first announcing his run. For someone like Brophy, it also clarifies just how strong (or weak) you are likely to be in moving up to a statewide race. Remember, money is an indicator of competitiveness because nobody writes big checks to a candidate if they don't think they can win.