In Brief: Dems outspend GOP handily; state trooper among governor’s pardons |

In Brief: Dems outspend GOP handily; state trooper among governor’s pardons

State Democrats dominate GOP in election cash

The Colorado Democratic Party outspent the Colorado GOP threefold in the 2022 election following three previous election cycles in which the two parties were more evenly matched in campaign cash. 

The two parties have both state and federal campaign accounts from which they raise and spend money to help their candidates — sometimes through direct contributions and other times through voter persuasion efforts, like mailers and text messages. The money also pays the salaries of party officials. 

The Colorado Democratic Party’s federal campaign committee spent $9.4 million in the 2022 election cycle, compared with the $3.3 million spent by its Republican counterpart. By comparison, the Democrats’ federal campaign committee spent $8.4 million in 2014 while the GOP committee spent $8.2 million that year. 

The spending discrepancy this year also highlights a broader problem for Republicans: Their candidates were outraised by Democrats in nearly every major race, from statewide contests to battles over individual legislative districts. Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, for instance, raised more than double the $10 million brought in by his Republican opponent, Denver construction-company owner Joe O’Dea.

“The money differential is big, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Alan Philp, a Republican consultant who worked on state and federal campaigns in 2022. “It’s not just in Colorado. (Democrats are) the party of big money.”

Former state trooper among those pardoned

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday evening cut short the prison sentences of four inmates and pardoned 20 people, including a former Colorado State Patrol trooper who guarded the state Capitol and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge after pointing a gun at a passing driver near the Denver building in 2021 while he was on duty.

The former trooper, Jay Hemphill, pleaded guilty in Denver earlier this year to misdemeanor menacing. He was sentenced to a year of probation. Polis commuted Hemphill’s sentence and pardoned him. 

Jay Hemphill. (Handout)

“You served the State of Colorado with honor and distinction for twenty-six years, serving and protecting five different governors,” Polis wrote to Hemphill. “You made a mistake in a brief instant when you thought you were under threat, and no one was physically harmed.”

According to an arrest affidavit for Hemphill, the woman said she was driving her truck near the Capitol and attempting to make a right turn onto East 14th from Sherman when Hemphill crossed in front of her vehicle, pulled out his gun, pointed it at her, and started to yell. The encounter was captured on video.

“I was afraid I was going to get shot,” the woman told Denver police. 

The affidavit says Hemphill, who had worked at the Capitol since January 1998 and was a constant presence in the building before the incident, reported the encounter to a Colorado State Patrol sergeant.

Hemphill started working for the Colorado State Patrol in 1995 and was a decorated trooper. In 2007, he shot and killed a 32-year-old man who declared himself “the emperor” while carrying a loaded .357-caliber handgun inside the Capitol. Hemphill received Colorado State Patrol’s highest award for stopping the armed man, Aaron Snyder, shortly after he entered then-Gov. Bill Ritter’s office.

A spokesperson for the State Patrol said Thursday evening that Hemphill left the agency shortly after the 2021 incident.

— The Colorado Sun


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