Biden leads the pack in funds raised in Aspen area
It’s not secret campaigning for president is expensive. In Pitkin County, Joe Biden has raised $67,390 from full-time residents since Jan. 1, making him the top fund raiser among presidential candidates.
Candidate Amount raised Number of donations
Joe Biden $67,390 53
Michael Bennet $27,056 60
Cory Booker $14,655
Pete Buttigieg $10,073 29
Tom Steyer $5,849 6
Marianne Williamson $3,660 27
Elizabeth Warren $2,996 19
Bernie Sanders $2,971 89
Donald Trump $2,407 30
Tulsi Gabbard 2,078 4
Kamala Harris $1,355 30
Source: Federal Elections Commission
Pitkin County residents have poured $138,412 into the campaign coffers of active presidential candidates since Jan. 1, with Joe Biden well ahead of the pack.
An Aspen Times review of Federal Election Commission records shows Biden has raised $67,390 this year from Pitkin County’s five ZIP codes considered the campaign donors’ full-time residences. Those figures for Biden, as well as other presidential hopefuls, do not include donations from those who aren’t full-time Aspen residents and attended campaign fundraisers or donated to presidential campaigns in the Aspen area this year.
The former vice president and his wife, Jill, visited a private Aspen residence in August for a fundraiser charging $1,000 to $2,800 to attend. The event was held at the Northstar Drive home of Jane and Marc Nathanson, who founded Falcon Cable and sold it for $3.7 billion in 1999.
Sen. Michael Bennet also has stumped in Aspen this year, including a town hall-style meeting in August at the Pitkin County Library hosted by the Pitkin County Democrats. Polls show Bennet with about 1% support, but the $27,056 he’s raised this year in Pitkin County put him second to Biden in the local fundraising arena among presidential candidates.
Bennet and Biden are seeking the Democratic nomination to run against President Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, in 2020.
Democratic candidates have set their sights on the Feb. 3 Iowa Caucus, which can bolster some campaigns and crush others.
Howard Wallach, president of the Pitkin County Democrats, said the monetary support coming in locally, with the election one year away, “says people are desperate to change the occupants of the White House. They’re desperate, and they’re serious.”
In its most recent poll Nov. 8, The New York Times showed Biden with 26% support, ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (20%), Sen. Bernie Sanders (17%) and Pete Buttigieg (8%).
Biden is the only one of those four who have made fundraising stops in the Aspen area this year.
Yet other Democrats seeking their party’s bid have campaigned in the area this year, including Sen. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Billionaire Tom Steyer also was in Snowmass Village in August for the American Renewable Energy Day summit.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also made presidential fundraising stops in Aspen this year before dropping out of the race. Hickenlooper currently is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate.
Sanders might not have a strong showing in Pitkin County when it comes to dollars raised, but he has generated the most individual contributions so far — 89. Yet 55 of those donations came from one individual, including 48 contributions for one buck each. Sanders has prided himself on small donations, and recently reported that 84% of his contributions were $200 or less, according to publicintegrity.org.
The number of separate contributions also helped candidates meet one of the minimum thresholds set by the Democratic National Committee in its first two debates in the summer.
Trump has raised $2,407 so far this year from Pitkin County residents, while Vice President Mike Pence visited Aspen on July 22 for a private event held at the downtown Caribou Club. The event was a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee and the re-election of President Trump.
Aspen’s primary ZIP code, 81611, can be lucrative for candidates. In 2018, 81611 accounted for $3.15 million in donations to federal candidates, political action committees and other political funds, an amount that was 29 times more what the average ZIP code generated, according to opensecrets.org.
The Federal Election Commission’s limit for contributions is $2,800 per individual per federal election in 2019-20. The FEC, which oversees campaign finance law in national elections, also requires individual donors, either themselves or through their political party, to report the contributions.