Last-minute money flows into Eagle Co. congressional race |

Last-minute money flows into Eagle Co. congressional race

Lynn Bartels and Todd Hartman
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

A leading Colorado environmentalist made a last-minute commitment to Jared Polis in the heated 2nd congressional district Democratic primary race, while rivals Joan Fitz-Gerald and Will Shafroth each got a boost from outside groups.

The endorsement from Elise Jones of the Colorado Environmental Coalition was important for Polis. Even so, Shafroth has earned several of his own endorsements from top environmentalists ” including Jones’ twin sister, Suzanne, of The Wilderness Society.

Shafroth has won support from some greens for his work in public and private positions on major land preservation efforts in the state. His backers include nature photographer John Fielder and numerous current and former Boulder city officials.

But Elise Jones said she believes the race has become a “two-candidate” race ” between Fitz-Gerald and Polis ” and that “conservationists have a clear choice. My choice is Jared Polis.

“Jared has proven that environmental concerns are at the top of his agenda and that we can trust his stances are not just lip service,” said Jones, stressing she was endorsing as an individual, not as a representative of any organization. “He will stay true to his word while serving us in Washington.”

Fitz-Gerald, a former state Senate president, will likely benefit from a surge of late money from philanthropist Tim Gill ($110,000) and the Communication Workers of America ($25,000).

The money went to Colorado Counts, a union-backed 527 group that has been running ads attacking Polis’ education record; ads that Polis has complained distort the facts. A 527 refers to a section of the federal tax code that regulates political committees that can accept unlimited donations.

Steve Adams, head of Colorado Counts, confirmed the money would be spent on advertisements that “are definitely going to be targeting issues we have with Jared” in the last three days before the Aug. 12 primary. He wouldn’t say if the ads would be new, or more of the same.

“I would rather let you find that out over time,” Adams said.

At least one other 527 group, Centennial Alliance, is planning a weekend ad blitz backing Shafroth. The group plans to spend nearly $140,000.

“We will be recognizing the work Will Shafroth has done on conversation,” said Mike Feeley, a former Democratic state Senator from Lakewood and registered agent for the group.

For his part Polis has two new TV ads running in the final days, both positive. Polis, a wealthy Internet entrepreneur, has put more than $5 million of his own money into the race and has been on television since May, far longer than the other two.

To top it off, all three campaigns plan a massive get-out-the-vote effort across the 2nd the second congressional district over the weekend. The 10-county district covers the north metro area, and sprawls into the foothills and into Western Slope territory.

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