Earlier this week the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) was accused of funneling money through the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in order to fund television ads that were critical of GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo — ostensibly to boost the candidacy of Bob Beauprez in advance of the June Primary election. The story received national media coverage, from the Washington Post to the Newark Star-Ledger (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the current Chairman of the RGA and was recently in Colorado to raise money for the group), but one particular angle deserves another mention.
According to Republican sources close to the issue, the fallout from the RGA/RAGA scandal could prove disastrous for the campaign of GOP Attorney General nominee Cynthia Coffman. From what we hear, Coffman was counting heavily on massive financial support from RAGA in her bid to defeat Democrat Don Quick this fall, but the cross-pollination of RGA and RAGA finances has many Republican donors balking at writing checks to RAGA on Coffman's behalf.
It's no secret that RAGA and RGA work closely together, sharing expenses for trackers, polling, and other critical resources. Heck, they even share the same office building in Washington D.C. (1747 Pennsylvania Ave., with RGA in Suite 250 and RAGA in Suite 800). But in working together to influence the Republican Primary in Colorado, RAGA and RGA crossed a line that has angered a vitally-important group of GOP donors (vital for Coffman, anyway). As the campaign of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has always been quick to acknowledge, there are many wealthy and influential Colorado Republicans who support Hickenlooper's bid for re-election as Governor. Many of those same Republican donors also support Coffman — and had planned on writing big checks to RAGA for soft money support of Coffman's campaign. But because of the RGA's pre-primary shenanigans, those GOP donors are likely to refrain from making further donations to RAGA because they don't that money being used by the RGA — we're talking at least $100,000 in funding that will no longer be spent to help Coffman.
Coffman had been counting on RAGA to pick up the financial slack in her campaign, where she has lagged behind Quick and the Democrats. Prior to today (Aug. 1 is the deadline for the most recent fundraising period), Quick had about $232,000 in the bank compared to less than $70,000 cash-on-hand for Coffman; with relatively small contribution limits for Attorney General, Coffman was always going to have a hard time matching resources with Quick without the help of RAGA.
It appears clear that the RGA was working behind the scenes to influence the outcome of the GOP Gubernatorial Primary in June. But by involving RAGA in that effort, they may have inadvertently crippled the campaign of Cynthia Coffman for Attorney General.