Hickenlooper Struggles to Establish Donor Base Outside of Colorado

Exiting campaign staff reportedly complained about fundraising problems

John Hickenlooper / Getty Images

More than half of all donations to former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's presidential campaign in the last quarter came from his home state, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis

Those figures, obtained from federal election disclosure, are the type of statistic a politician running a statewide race might boast about, but in a national race they point to a campaign having trouble attracting interest from other parts of the country.

Hickenlooper's reliance on Colorado funding stands in contrast to two other presidential candidates also from the Mountain West, Colorado senator Michael Bennet and Montana governor Steve Bullock.

Bennet thus far has raised more money from California and New York residents than Coloradans. Bullock also has more California money compared to donations from his home state of Montana.

Additionally, there are nine states in which Hickenlooper has failed to generate a single donor. By comparison, Bennet has four ‘goose egg' states, and Bullock has only two.

The Hickenlooper team put an optimistic face on the numbers.

"It's no surprise that the Governor has received a hefty portion of his donations from voters in Colorado where he was a popular and successful Governor," a campaign spokesman told the Free Beacon by email.

"Voters across America are just getting to know and learn about Governor Hickenlooper's record of achievement in Colorado, and why his unparalleled executive experience within the Democratic field in a purple state makes him the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump."

Conservatives from Colorado, however, take a different view.

"Hickenlooper has not only failed to catch fire, he's failed to even get lukewarm in this race, And his fundraising and polling shows that," said Lindsey Singer with Colorado Rising Action, a conservative group in the state.

"He's been in the race much longer than Bennet and Bullock and has had that much more time to fundraise and rally support across the country, yet he's failed to share a coherent message for his base to get behind. These numbers prove that to be true."

Even without the statistical breakdown of donors by state, the fundraising report painted a gloomy picture of the former geologist's prospects in the crowded Democrat primary field. Hickenlooper only raised about $1.1 million during the second quarter.

"Hickenlooper will need to raise an estimated $40 million to make it through the early states," the Denver Post reported when Hickenlooper launched his campaign back in February. "His advisers believe it is doable given his large national network of donors dating back to 2008, when he raised money for the Democratic National Convention in Denver."

Of the roughly two dozen Democratic presidential candidates, Hickenlooper has witnessed the most difficult shake-up to date, at least internally. In June, five key staffers left the team, including campaign manager Brad Komar, who had been with Hickenlooper during his 2014 gubernatorial reelection campaign.

Shortly after the departures went public, a Politico follow-up report indicated that lackluster fundraising was an issue for those leaving, paraphrasing a person close to the situation as saying Hickenlooper was "lashing out at the political professionals around him and surrounding himself with Colorado loyalists rather than confronting reality."

Other recent reports have said the Hickenlooper strategy is now to go "all in" on Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus voting seven months from now.