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Race between Boebert, Frisch was most expensive 2022 Colorado congressional contest

More money was spent per vote in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District than in any other federal race in the state this year.
This combo image shows Democratic candidate for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District Adam Frisch, left, and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., right. Frisch and Boebert are running for Colorado’s U.S. House seat in District 3. (AP Photo, File)

More money was spent per vote in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District than in any other federal race in the state this year.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Garfield County Republican, spent nearly $43 per vote in her reelection bid, while challenger Adam Frisch spent $32, according to a Colorado Sun analysis of federal campaign finance records from Oct. 20 through Nov. 28. That’s more than the $16 per vote Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet spent to win reelection over Republican Joe O’Dea, who spent $9 per vote.

A mandatory recount is underway in the contest between Boebert, who received 163,842 votes, and Frisch, who got 163,292. Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, conceded to Boebert last month, but state law mandated a recount because Boebert’s margin of victory was so small.

3rd District race was expensive

Boebert and Frisch each individually spent more than all of the candidates in Colorado’s seven other House races combined.

Boebert spent $7 million on her reelection bid, while Frisch spent $5.2 million.

The first-term congresswoman has leveraged her national following to raise significant sums since the start of her term in 2021. More than 50% of her donations came from small-dollar donors giving less than $200.

Frisch, who entered the contest in February, brought in nearly 40% of the $5.8 million he raised between Oct. 1 and Nov. 28, buoyed by a poll that showed him within striking distance of beating Boebert. He raised nearly $1.1 million from small donors on the ActBlue fundraising platform used by Democrats.

The fundraising allowed Frisch to repay a $715,000 loan he made during the primary, though he still owed nearly $115,000 to consultants at the end of November.

Republican and Democratic political action committees largely ignored the 3rd District contest. Super PACs spent less than $700,000 on the race.

The mandatory recount must be completed by Thursday. It is not expected to reverse Boebert’s victory.

O’Dea’s personal cash infusions couldn’t match Bennet’s fundraising in Senate race

While Colorado’s two U.S. Senate candidates raised considerably more money than any candidate in the state running for the U.S. House, Bennet and O’Dea were competing for votes statewide, bringing down their average spent per vote.

O’Dea, a first-time candidate and the owner of a Denver construction company, raised $10 million and spent $9.4 million, less than half the $22 million raised and nearly $23 million spent by Bennet. The Republican lent his campaign $4 million, half of that in the final weeks of the campaign.

O’Dea still owed consultants nearly $101,000 at the end of November.

Both candidates spent $3 million in the final month of the campaign, mostly on TV advertising.

Outside groups spent $25 million on the contest. About 57% of that money went toward opposing O’Dea.

Bennet defeated O’Dea by 15 percentage points and more than 365,000 votes.

Caraveo outspent Kirkmeyer in competitive new 8th District

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a Thornton Democrat, spent the third-most per vote of any candidate for federal office in Colorado this year, at $30. She defeated her Republican opponent in the 8th Congressional District race, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.

Kirkmeyer, a Weld County Republican, spent $13 per vote.

The $16.6 million spent on the race by political groups far exceeded the $3.5 million spent by Caraveo or the $1.4 million spent by Kirkmeyer.

Of that outside spending, nearly 55% went to oppose Caraveo, while 33% was spent in opposition to Kirkmeyer.

Pettersen outspent her GOP opponent in 7th District

Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen significantly outspent her Republican opponent, first-time candidate Erik Aadland, to win in the 7th Congressional District.

Pettersen spent $15 per vote compared to the $9 per vote spent by Aadland. Pettersen won by 15 percentage points.

Pettersen will represent a newly configured 7th Congressional District, which is centered in Jefferson County and stretches into rural mountain counties to the south and west. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, decided not to run for reelection last year, after the district’s boundaries changed as part of the once-in-a-decade redistricting process.

Aadland still owed consultants $69,000 at the end of November. He repaid himself $5,000 for a campaign loan, as well as $4,564 in what was billed as “Converted Crypto” for a loan repayment.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.