New campaign finance reports show Skorman and Crow-Iverson leading in cash raised

By: MARIA ST. LOUIS-SANCHEZ AND BILLIE STANTON ANLEU The Gazette
March 17, 2017 Updated: March 20, 2017 at 1:37 pm
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Hundreds of contributors pushed City Council candidate Richard Skorman's campaign donations to the top of the heap over the past two weeks in Colorado Springs, in terms of dollars raised.

Skorman to date has amassed $60,097, with previous top dollar candidate Lynette Crow-Iverson at $55,208, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the City Clerk's Office.

Third is Chuck Fowler, who is competing with Skorman for the District 3 seat, with $45,045 to date.

Crow-Iverson's District 5 opponent, Council President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler, had nudged her total up to $36,140.

But District 4 challenger Deborah L. Hendrix had more, with $40,361 compared with her opponents' sums: $4,189 for Councilwoman Helen Collins and $15,407 for Yolanda L. Avila.

The April 4 municipal election will decide all six district seats on the nine-member council.

The job pays $6,250 a year, but that hasn't stopped big donors from stepping in to boost the challengers' prospects.

In District 1, for example, challenger Greg Basham collected $40,050 so far, while Councilman Don Knight had $8,318.

The exception is District 6, where the big money is on incumbent Councilman Andres G. Pico, who has $26,110 compared with $6,920 for former state Rep. Janak Joshi, $33 for Melanie Bernhardt and no funds reported by Robert M. Burns.

David Geislinger isn't raising money as the unopposed District 2 candidate, but he has received $78 anyway.

More telling than the cash totals, perhaps, is the source of the funds.

Three candidates got money from donors numbering in the triple digits: Skorman had 357 itemized contributors, most of them shelling out $20, $50 or $100. Gaebler had 288 itemized donors, many of them also giving $20, $30, $50 or even $34. And Avila had 142 itemized contributors, likewise forking over smaller sums.

Candidates endorsed by Colorado Springs Forward and the Housing & Building Association got bigger sums from major developers early in the race.

Crow-Iverson had 58 donations this round, some contributing little amounts and others hundreds. But before this two-week reporting period, she already had built up a healthy stash of cash, with $5,000 and $10,000 donations from developers, PACs and business interests.

Likewise Hendrix, whose 48 contributors during this two-week reporting period mostly gave $100 to $500 - icing on the cake already baked by four- and five-digit contributions from the same PACs and builders supporting Crow-Iverson.

Knight has 40 contributors but little cash, while Fowler's donations came from 37 sources, some small but others generous, such as the $10,000 from the HBA PAC, which to date has given him $16,000.

The candidates' next campaign finance deadline is March 31 - only four days before election day.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story did not make it clear that the number of donors for the candidates were only the donors who made itemized donations of $20 or more. 

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