Fundraising totals lopsided in local county commissioner and state House races


Look at campaign finance reports for local candidates

Chuck McConnell

Diane Mitsch Bush

Cari Hermacinski

Steve Ivancie

Brita Horn

Nikki Knoebel


Chuck McConnell


Diane Mitsch Bush


Cari Hermacinski


Steve Ivancie

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said one of the local candidates did not donate to their own campaign. All of the candidates have either given loans or donated to their own campaigns.

No one is running close to one another this year in Routt County's election fundraising wars.

The latest campaign finance reports filed by local candidates running for treasurer, Colorado House District 26 and Routt County commissioner reveal half of the candidates are raking in much more campaign cash than their opponents.

In the race for the House seat, incumbent state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush raised $27,417 through the end of last month, almost triple the amount of her Republican challenger, Chuck McConnell.

McConnell, a retired chemical engineer, had raised $9,585 in the same time period.

Some of Mitsch Bush's biggest donors included the Public Education Committee ($2,250) and the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Small Donor Fund ($2,500).

One of McConnell's largest donations came in the form of a $3,500 check from the Routt County Republican Central Committee.

While the Democratic candidate has the fundraising edge in the House race, it's a different story in the local race for a county commissioner seat.

Former Steamboat Springs City Council President and Republican Cari Hermacinski brought in $19,167 by July 24.

Incumbent county Commissioner Steve Ivancie, who is working to retain his seat, raised only $1,750 for his campaign in the same time period.

Hermacinski had $2,626 available to spend Aug. 1, while Ivancie had $953.

Some of Hermacinski's significant donors include Jim and Susan Larson ($1,000 donation), of Steamboat; Nina and John Soileau ($1,500), of Orange Park, Florida; and Del and Diane Gehrett ($1,000), of Terratectonics construction in Littleton.

Ivancie counts former county Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak ($100) as one of his top donors.

The two local candidates who are running to be this county's treasurer have not raised nearly as much as the candidates for the other offices, but their fundraising race also is lopsided.

Incumbent treasurer Brita Horn, a Republican, has raised $3,475 while her challenger, Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel, had raised $100.

While fundraising strength doesn't always correlate with victory at the ballot box, most of the candidates who won here in the last statewide election cycle of 2012 also won the fundraising race.

Mitsch Bush defeated McConnell with a big fundraising edge during their first face-off while Tim Corrigan won his county commissioner seat after raising and spending more than challenger Jim "Moose" Barrows.

Commissioner Doug Monger also had the fundraising edge and held on to his seat after fending off a challenge from Tina Kyprios.

But that same year, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner proved fundraising isn't the deciding factor in every race.

In a very competitive primary race, he defeated incumbent Sen. Jean White despite raising less than half of White's fundraising total.

Baumgardner went on to win in the general election.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Campaign finance totals through Aug. 1

House District 26

Diane Mitsch Bush (Democrat)

• Raised: $27,417.18

• Spent: $16,549.39

• Cash on hand: $12,644.26

Chuck McConnell (Republican)

• Raised: $9,585

• Spent: $4,103

• Cash on hand: $6,643

Routt County Commissioner, District 3

Cari Hermacinski (Republican)

• Raised: $19,167

• Personal loans: $5,000 (repaid)

• Spent: $16,540

• Cash on hand: $2,626

Steve Ivancie (Democrat)

• Raised: $1,750

• Spent: $796.66

• Cash on hand: $953.34


Brita Horn (Republican)

• Raised: $3,475

• Spent: $28

• Cash on hand: $3,447

Nikki Knoebel (Democrat)

• Raised: $100

• Personal loans: $480.79

• Spent: $480.79

• Cash on hand: $100


Joe Meglen 2 years, 8 months ago

Those that feed at the public trough take care of their own.

According to economist Gary Shilling that portion of Americans feeding substantially at the public trough now stands at 52.6 percent. Is it fair that the 47.4% in the minority must support the majority? Given today's culture this will continue until it can't.


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 8 months ago

Define the trough for us Joe. Be specific, what exactly do you mean?


Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago


Mr. Shilling's analysis found that about 1 in 5 Americans hold a government job or a job reliant on federal spending. A similar number receive Social Security or a government pension. About 19 million others get food stamps, 2 million get subsidized housing, and 5 million get education grants. For all these categories, Mr. Shilling counted dependents as well as the direct recipients of government income.

So, Fred Duckels and his dependents feed at the government trough according to Mr Shilling because Duckels Construction does road projects for government.

Shilling's number is pretty silly and largely misleading as shown above. It creates a false impression that people counted as receiving assistance as being in favor of government assistance programs. I know Fred Duckels doesn't consider himself as part of a voting bloc supporting government assistance programs.

In the USA, the states receiving the most government assistance per capita vote the most Republican. So the idea of a voting bloc for government assistance is simply false.


jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

Scot W. Show me the links that prove your last paragraph.


Dan Kuechenmeister 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, I am wondering if an article from 2007 regards government spending is still relevant. Also you make an interesting statement regards states receiving the most government assistance per capita vote republic. Is it possible to provide the source for that info. Thanks for that


Dan Kuechenmeister 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott, Just curious how you go from 1 of 5 have jobs that are "reliant" on federal spending to Fred Duckels and his dependents feed at the government trough. You seem to imply that Duckels is "reliant" on federal spending. While I am not familiar with Duckels business mix, I suspect they are not "reliant" on federal spending any more then some of over age 62 wealthy citizens who collect social security are "reliant" on social security. If you have information proving otherwise I would accept your premise.


Eric Morris 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't care about the tribal nature of politics but it cracks me up that someone that most likely benefited from republican tribal support to be elected five times as county commissioner is paying to help member of the democratic tribe Steve Ivancie be elected. I guess the tribe that matters most is being one of the chosen "leaders".


Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

So I do the work to find the source for the most controversial statement and now I am expected to annotate every comment by everyone?

States like Mississippi, Arkansas and so on in the deep South have among the highest percentage of the population receiving direct government assistance and vote overwhelmingly Republican.

I could not find any link to exactly how Shilling determined what counted as jobs relying upon government. Though, when the most generous calculation of all layers of government add up to slightly less than 40% of the national economy (which counts things like water districts which are government enterprises charging fees to provide a service and often not even supported by taxes) then Shilling cannot be very strict on what he counts as reliant on government spending to reach his 52.6% number.

As for wealthy people getting what they want - google "wealthy political influence" and there are tons of links to that category of research.


jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

Mississippi, Arkansas, states in the south? Generalizations, not proof. I will give you two more generalizations with no proof. Illinois, the most corrupt state in the union, strongly Democratic. Michigan, the state with the largest city to declare bankruptcy, Detroit, which has been run by Democrats for decades.


Chris Hadlock 2 years, 8 months ago

Actually, I think this article speaks more to the overwhelming advantage that incumbents have in the fundraising process, and why it is so difficult to remove them from office. Not at all sure that it has really anything to do with Right Vs. Left, corruption, or the trough that Joe Meglan refuses to explain. Where exactly is that Trough Joe, and how do you know about it?


Dan Kuechenmeister 2 years, 8 months ago

Scott says, states like Arkansas vote overwhelmingly Republican. Then how pray tell could a state that votes overwhelmingly Republican have a Governor and a US Senator with the letter D after their name. Why wouldn't we ask you to provide your source for something you state as fact. I don't care about your opinions. To copy some one else on this blog who was commenting on a letter to the editor by ( I believe) Joe - You are entitled to your opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts. O and what kind of cheese do you want with your whine? "So I do the work to find the source for the most controversial statement and now I am expected to annotate every comment by everyone?"


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