Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version at 9:39 a.m. on Friday, June 10, to correct an error regarding campaign donations of city councilmembers.
The race for Boulder County commissioner is shaping up to be competitive, at least according to one metric. Both Democratic candidates have raised about equal amounts of cash ahead of the June 28 primary, the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State show.
The two candidates seeking a spot on the Board of County Commissioners are Elaina Shively, director of the Center for Prevention and Restorative Justice at the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, and Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann, a chemical engineer. No Republican candidates are running for the seat.
The fundraising haul so far this year has Shively netting $67,500, slightly more than the $62,255 raised by Stolzmann. More than a dozen individuals donated the maximum amount allowed under the law, $2,500, split nearly evenly between the two candidates.
Both candidates have stated priorities that include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rebuilding after the Marshall Fire and preparing for the next disaster, and addressing the county’s housing shortage. They come from different vantage points in city government — Stolzmann from city hall and Shively from the criminal legal system. Donations to the candidates from local elected officials indicate a split among those often aligned on policy matters.
Top donors to Shively’s campaign include former Louisville City Councilmember Don Brown, who donated $2,500, and Stan Garnett, former Boulder County District Attorney and trustee of the Community Foundation Boulder County, who donated $1,750. Other local donors include Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, Boulder City Councilmember Matt Benjamin and state Rep. Judy Amabile.
Stolzmann’s top campaign donors include Ning Mosberger-Tang, a local environmental advocate, who donated $2,500, and Jamie Schingeck, a realtor, who also donated $2,500. Boulder City Councilmember Bob Yates, Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett, state Rep. Tracey Bernett and Longmont Mayor Joan Peck, were also donors. (Mosberger-Tang’s foundation, the Innovo Foundation, is a donor to Boulder Reporting Lab.)
Most of the money has been spent so far on mailers, yard signs and campaign consulting in an effort to win the seat vacated by Commissioner Matt Jones, a former state senator who is not seeking reelection.
The amount of money raised is typical for this race. But it’s less than what commissioners raised in 2020, which drew in more than $200,000. Commissioners Marta Loachamin and Claire Levy, both of whom were elected that year, are up for reelection in 2024.
The only other primary this June is for the Boulder County Sheriff’s office, which is being vacated by Sheriff Joe Pelle, who was first elected in 2003.
Curtis Johnson, a division chief with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, has raised $107,900, more than five times that of Louisville Police Chief David Hayes, who has raised $17,396. Johnson has raised more money from the law enforcement community, including contributions from District Attorney Dougherty.
Both candidates would likely enforce the new gun laws passed by cities and towns in Boulder County on Tuesday. Hayes has said he supports the local ordinances, while Johnson has been endorsed by Colorado Ceasefire, a gun violence prevention organization.
No Republican candidates are seeking the office.
New state Senate seat in Boulder County’s foothills up for grabs
This year’s election will be the first since the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions redrew political maps across the state last year.
The redistricting commission broke up the district held by Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, to effectively slice out the county’s foothill towns of Nederland, Ward and Estes Park. Those towns now fall within the more conservative district held by Rob Woodward, a Republican from Loveland who was first elected in 2019.
But the redistricting makes Woodward’s district, Senate District 15, slightly more competitive for Democrats than it has been. The Republican voter advantage narrowed slightly, and unaffiliated voters now make up an even larger majority, accounting for 45% of the district’s voters, according to data from the Secretary of State.
Hoping to pick up this seat for Democrats is Janice Marchman, a middle school math teacher from Loveland. So far this election cycle, the incumbent has stashed more than four times that of Marchman — $170,119 to about $41,250. Top donors include the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, which donated $5,350 to Woodward’s campaign, and the Colorado Education Association, which donated $5,350 to Marchman’s.
The stakes for the race are relatively high. Democrats control the state Senate by a 20-15 majority that Republicans hope to narrow. Democrats also hold the governor’s office and an even wider majority in the state House, giving them practically full control over policymaking in Colorado.
Boulder’s two senators, Fenberg and Sonya Jaquez Lewis of Longmont, are up for reelection in 2025.
The county’s representatives, all of whom are Democrats, are all up for reelection this year and all currently have substantially more cash on hand than their Republican challengers going into the Nov. 8 election. They include Judy Amabile of Boulder, Edie Hooton of Boulder, Karen McCormick of Longmont and Tracey Bernett of Louisville. None face primary challengers.
Library district campaign moves ahead
Also on the Nov. 8 ballot this year is a measure to form a library district in Boulder. Advocates for the district, led by the Boulder Library Champions, want to expand the city’s library services and address a building maintenance backlog by asking voters who live in the library district — the borders of which are yet to be decided — to pay higher property taxes.
Bankrolling the campaign is the Boulder Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization advocating for the city’s library system, which gave $25,000 to the Boulder Library Champions for the campaign.
Issue committees, such as the Boulder Library Champions, can accept unlimited donations from people and businesses under Colorado law. State rules on campaign fundraising prohibit donations of more than $5,000 to county candidates from individuals and political committees. Small donor committees, which represent organizations and businesses, can donate up to $25,000 per election cycle.
A City of Boulder measure seeking to block a proposed residential development and flood mitigation project in South Boulder, known as CU South, will also be on the ballot. According to city election records, the campaign backing the measure, Repeal CU South Annexation, has reported $5,000 in contributions. The campaign opposing the referendum, No More Delay for Flood Safety, has not yet reported any donations.
The next campaign contribution reports for state and county races are due June 24, the Friday before the primary election, according to the Secretary of State.
The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder has already tested its voting equipment. And many voters in Boulder should already have their mail-in ballots in hand.
Residents can register to vote up to and on Election Day.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Councilmember Matt Benjamin had donated to Ashley Stolzmann, and Mayor Aaron Brockett had donated to Elaina Shively. That was incorrect and we have updated the story. Brockett donated to Stolzmann and Benjamin donated to Shively.