COLORADO SPRINGS AND PUEBLO, Colo. - With less than two weeks before the Sept. 10 recall election, supporters of state Senators Angela Giron and John Morse have collected 10 times more in campaign contributions than opponents seeking the recall because of the senators' support of gun control.
KRDO NewsChannel 13's Target 13 investigation studied political contributions for and against the recall that are registered with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
According to records, Giron, of Pueblo, and Morse, of Colorado Springs, have received a total of $2 million from six committees. The largest amounts were given by Denver-based Taxpayers For Responsible Democracy ($708,000) and Pueblo United For Angela ($586,000).
Recall supporters, however, have received only $200,000, according to records. The amount includes a donation from a Morse recall group and the campaigns of challengers George Rivera of Pueblo and Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs.
The senators' supporters have accused their opponents of being influenced by political groups in other states. Records show that the recall effort has received two contributions, including one for $108,000, from two National Rifle Association committees.
But the senators have a sizable outside contribution of their own: $350,000 from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg through the committee Taxpayers For Responsible Democracy. Bloomberg is a strong gun control proponent.
Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College, said national interest in the recall effort and the continuing gun control debate have removed the financial advantage enjoyed by recall opponents.
"When you get that much money and that much attention, that tends to have an effect on voters," he said. "They tend to become very well-informed and as that happens, the money starts to have less of an effect."
Loevy said even more money than is currently registered could be involved in the election because political committees are good at hiding exactly who provides contributions. He also said voters are receiving more political ads by mail than is usual in an election.
"I think people should be enjoying this," said Loevy, alluding to the first recall election in state history. "A small number of voters in two districts will have the power to kick two state senators out of office and influence the national gun control discussion."