Following the money in Colorado politics

FollowTheMoney.org, a website associated with the Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics, tracks spending on campaigns across the country, and the data on Colorado confirms that agenda-driven greenbacks flooded the state last year at an unprecedented rate. Here are some bullets assembled by NIMSP's Mike Wessler:

• Colorado's 2008 state elections attracted $84.6 million in contributions, more than four times the $20.3 million raised during 2004, the last comparable election cycle. • Several contentious ballot measures attracted just over $60 million in 2008, accounting for most of the discrepancy between the two elections. One committee alone, Protect Colorado's Future, raised $16 million in opposition to three ballot measures -- Amendment 47, Amendment 49 and Amendment 54. • Incumbent Gov. Ritter raised $975,000 in 2008, when he was not up for re-election. His predecessor, former Gov. Owens, by comparison, raised $42,000 during his off-year in 2004. • Legislative races were slightly more expensive as well. The average House candidate raised $39,953 in 2008, up from $25,468 in 2004. Senate candidates raised an average of $62,094 in 2008, compared to $53,959 in 2003. • Fundraising by party committees, however, remained relatively constant, with $1.7 million raised during each of the elections.

For more eye-popping digits, click around on FollowTheMoney.org's Colorado page.

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