State Senate District #32 candidate Robert Rodriguez issued the following statement about the unprecedented amount of so-called “dark money” being spent on behalf of his opponent Zach Neumann.
I have tried to run this campaign on issues, concentrating on working families and to represent the needs of our district and our state. I have said often I want to be a voice for people who are struggling to have a quality of life. I have not attacked my opponents. That is not my character, I want to resolve issues and talk about solutions. I have been supported by organizations that want a fair shot and opportunities for all people. I am saddened by the for-profit interests that are attempting to buy this race. This race has always been about people and we are seeing the super-pac type interests coming in and influencing the outcome of our chosen leaders. I’ve been involved in campaign for many years, and I have never seen this type of money coming into a race of this size. Zach Neumann has publicly disavowed special interest money in campaigns, but has not come out against this spending on his behalf in this race. I only have two questions: what are these interests afraid of? What has been promised to result in over $350,000 being spent to elect a single candidate in a state senate race?
Rodriguez pointed out that during a “Down the ballot” candidate forum which was reported on by CleanSlateNowAction.org, Neumann stated support for publicly funded elections, “rather than having the majority of money in campaigns being spent by corporations, interest groups and lobbyists through outside vehicles that we can’t even track until the mail shows up.” Rodriguez then concluded:
The first outside money showed up for Zach Neumann on May 4th—six weeks ago—and yet he has not said one word about it. He doesn’t appear to be offended by “outside vehicles” spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on him judging by his silence.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office shows $315,415 being spent by independent expenditure committees on behalf of Zach Neumann. Separately, the Secretary of State’s office reports $45,197 being spent on Neumann by a 527 political organization. Robert Rodriguez has raised over $130,000. Finance reports show $11,035 in support of Mr. Rodriguez from independent organizations.
Statements from Elected Officials:
Senator Irene Aguilar M.D.:
I am appalled and disgusted by the amount of dark money that is being thrown into this state senate primary to replace me. Nobody I know of can recall anything like this in a legislative primary before. It’s crazy.”
Former Minority Leader Lucia Guzman:
I am watching with increasing concern the record-breaking amount of outside money from 527 organizations and independent expenditure committees being spent in Colorado’s senate district #32. I am worried this is taking away local constituents’ power to select who they want. This is a local race that should stay local, but I’m troubled that this may be setting a bad precedent.
Former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald:
It is a dangerous precedent to have 3rd party corporate/special interest money inundate a local campaign at the level we’re seeing in senate district #32 to elect their champion, rather than a candidate who represents the people of the district.