Windels outpaces Griffin in fund-raising for commission race

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By AJ Vicens

Faye Griffin and Sue Windels — the two veteran politicians vying to replace outgoing District 1 County Commissioner Jim Congrove — raised just half the money that the District 2 candidates pulled in during the filing period that ended July 17.

Griffin, a Republican and the Jefferson County treasurer, reported raising $9,832.85 between Dec. 2, 2007, and July 17, 2008, according to a state filing. Windels, the term-limited Democratic state senator from District 19, reported raising $26,387.27 during the same time period.

"It reflects the kind of campaign I've always run," Windels said. "I walk door to door for every campaign, and in between campaigns. That makes a personal connection with individual voters. That's why you see so many individual donors, and sometimes they can't give much, they just want to express the fact that they appreciate the effort you make to contact them."

The single largest contribution listed in her 57-page report is $10,258.70, and that money is a transfer from her last Senate campaign.

"As far as transferring money from one campaign to another, that's very normal," Windels said. She was elected as a state representative in 1998 in House District 27, and then won a Senate seat in 2000 and 2004. "You always try to leave some seed money to start your next campaign."

Windels said she's not going to ease up even though her opponent reported raising less than half the amount she raised through July 17.

"It doesn't mean she won't have a huge amount of money to pour into this race," Windels said. "Some wealthy contributor could give her $10,000. You never know."

With more than 350,000 registered voters in Jefferson County, Windels said any direct-mail campaign will have to be precisely targeted.

"Postage is expensive," Windels said. "To mail something to every voter in Jefferson County, that would just be prohibitive."

Windels received $4,000 from the Jefferson County Democratic Party and $1,100 from the Colorado Democratic Party, proving to Windels that the party thinks it's a winnable race.

"Jefferson County, once written off as very Republican, is turning almost entirely blue," Windels said. She added that eight of the 12 state legislators from the county are Democrats.

Griffin's largest contributor has been Lois Tate of Lakewood, who has donated $1,404.39 in cash and in-kind contributions.

"I've known her for years," Griffin said, adding that Tate is active in the Jeffco Republican Party and was one of a group of people who approached her about running for the District 1 commissioner seat.

"This group of people said they wanted me to run for commissioner because of my record," Griffin said.

Griffin succeeded Republican Mark Paschall as treasurer in 2007. She served two terms as the Jefferson County clerk and recorder from 1997 to 2004, after which she retired to spend more time with her family. She returned to politics and won a primary race against Paschall in August 2006.

Griffin's other large contributions were $580 from the South Jeffco Women's Club and $500 from Marian Olson of Golden.

Griffin explained that most of her donations are from people she's known through work in Jefferson County over many years, and that she's not all that "involved with many of the political people."

Griffin acknowledged she has raised the least of the four candidates running for commissioner in November. Incumbent Republican Kevin McCasky and his Democratic challenger, Jason Bane, raised more than $71,000 in their race in the latest filing period.

"The plan is to get more signs, do more mailers and take out some ads," Griffin said. "Even if I had a lot more money, I'm not sure what that would mean. She added that after this week’s primary, she should be able to raise some more money and boost campaign efforts.

Griffin said campaign contributions won't be relevant if she's elected commissioner.

"If I am commissioner, I'm not going to call (contributors) or anyone else to see what their opinion would be on my vote," Griffin said.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.