LinkedIn founder, Realtor group stroke big checks in mayoral race

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DENVER — LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has put up nearly $780,000 to support Denver mayoral candidate Mike Johnston, while Connecticut hedge fund billionaire Steve Mandel has contributed $250,000.

Opponent Kelly Brough, meanwhile, has $450,000 in contributions from the National Association of Realtors behind her.

The fundraising side of the Denver mayoral race has heated up in recent weeks, particularly in the form of donations to outside groups supporting select candidates.

Through the end of January, the bulk of contributions in the race were being made by individuals directly to candidate campaign committees. Those contributions come with relatively low limits: $500 for those participating in the matching funds program, and $1,000 for those not.

There are no limits on donations to “independent expenditure committees,” however, which are established to support a candidate but cannot coordinate with their campaign.

Hoffman and Mandel donated to “Advancing Denver,” the IE committee for Johnson. Another top donor is former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry, who contributed $150,000. 

The outside spending has propelled Johnston, a former state senator, to the top of the mayoral money race with about two weeks until Election Day and ballots already in the hands of voters.

Brough, the former CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, is No. 2 in the money race and backed by IE committee “A Better Denver.” In addition to the national realtor group, donors include Colorado construction industry groups and the development firms L.C. Fulenwider Inc. and Amacon.

Here’s where fundraising stood as of Monday. All public matching funds have been awarded. Only select donors are named.

Mike Johnston

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $1.16 million

Total raised by IE committee Advancing Denver: $1.41 million

Advancing Denver donors: $779,804 from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman; $250,450 from hedge fund billionaire Steve Mandel; $150,000 from former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry; $99,000 from John and Laura Arnold of Houston’s Arnold Ventures; $25,000 from David Ferguson, co-founder of investment firm Grey Lion; $25,000 from Jim Kelley of Vestar Capital Partners; $10,000 from Liberty Global CEO Michael Fries; $10,000 from former Seattle Fish CEO James Iacino; $10,000 from developer Jerry Glick; $10,000 from David Younggren, founding director of Gary Community Ventures

Kelly Brough

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $1.39 million

Total raised by IE committee A Better Denver: $913,175

A Better Denver donors: $450,000 from National Association of Realtors Fund; $50,000 from Lloyd Fulenwider and $20,000 from L.C. Fulenwider Inc.; $40,000 from Colorado Construction Industry Coalition; $37,500 from Associated General Contractors of Colorado Building Chapter; $25,000 from an affiliate of Amacon; $25,000 from Avanti Residential; $25,000 from Broe Group founder Pat Broe; $25,000 from an affiliate of Buzz Geller’s Paradise Land Co.; $10,000 from affiliates of City Street Investors; $10,000 from developer Jerry Glick; $10,000 from an affiliate of Zocalo Community Development and $5,000 from co-founder David Zucker; $10,000 from National Western Center Authority CEO Brad Buchanan

Leslie Herod

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $919,703

Donations to independent expenditure committee Ready Denver: $200,000

Ready Denver donors: Not disclosed

Andy Rougeot

Total raised by campaign committee including personal loans: $806,215

Biggest donor: Himself. Rougeot has loaned his campaign $750,000. He is not participating in the public matching funds program and no independent expenditure committee has been set up to support him.

Committee max donors at $1,000: 2019 Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton, real estate broker Phil Ruschmeyer, Johnson Storage & Moving CEO Mark Johnson, attorney David Kaplan of Kaplan & Associates, Sephora Americas CEO (and the candidate’s father) Jean-André Rougeot

Debbie Ortega

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $393,351

IE committee donors: Mission Yogurt, Denver Firefighters IAFF Local 858 PAC Fund

Chris Hansen

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $575,862

Lisa Calderon

Total raised by campaign committee including matching funds: $264,364

Source: BizWest

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