You’ve got just over a week to send matchable donations to municipal candidates

The Fair Elections Fund window is closing!
2 min. read
Mike Johnston (left to right), Trinidad Rodriguez, James Walsh, Ean Thomas Tafoya, Aurelio Martinez and Leslie Herod participate in 9News’ televised mayoral debate at the Auraria Campus’ King Center. Feb. 16, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Just to make sure we're all on the same page here: After Feb. 28, your donations to city council and mayoral candidates will not be matched by Denver's Fair Elections Fund. If you want your money to get the nine-to-one multiplier treatment, the clock is ticking.

Lucille Wenegieme, spokesperson for Denver's elections division, told us the deadline was baked into the rules for this program.

"Due to the legal requirement that disbursements from the Fund be authorized by our office no later than 14 days before the election, this will be the final reporting period where candidates may submit qualifying contributions for matching through the Fair Elections Fund," she wrote to us.

By the time the city pays out matching funds from February, we'll be too close to election day to dole out any more.

The fund has been SUPER widely used.

47 of the 58 candidates that made the ballot have signed up for the Fund. Together, they've collected more than $5 million of the $8 million that the city set aside for this kickoff year.

Wenegieme said her department doesn't expect to run out of cash before the general election and runoff have ended. It probably helps that candidates who lose or drop out are required to give the money back.

Candidates have spent over $700,000 from their Fair Elections chests so far, with an average of $1,300 per spend. Mayoral candidate Thomas Wolf has written the largest FEF check so far, according to available city records: $30,000 to pay a data analyst. Clerk and Recorder incumbent Paul López spent $28,000 on a direct mail campaign. He's running unopposed but said he still needs to campaign to ask voters for support, let them know about his priorities and not take his office for granted.

And the two smallest FEF spends so far, just for fun: It appears mayoral candidate Ean Thomas Tafoya has paid a single Fair Elections dollar, on two occasions, to parking meters.

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