Like most political ads, Weld Strong’s video attacking state Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) doesn’t pull any punches. Calling her an “empty seat in the state legislature,” the narrator says she has “no accomplishments” as an elected official and that while in office she was merely “waiting for her next job as Weld County Commissioner.”
It’s pretty standard stuff for an attack ad, but the names behind the ads, however, are likely to raise some eyebrows.
Rockies owner Charlie Monfort is among the handful of wealthy donors who contributed to Weld Strong, the political organization responsible for the ad.
Monfort’s $2,000 check is particularly surprising considering that according to Colorado campaign finance records his last political contribution was $250…to Perry Buck for Weld County Commissioner.
On the Weld Strong contribution, Monfort listed a ranch in Eaton as his address, but noted his employer and title as “Colorado Rockies, Owner”
Monfort’s donation to Perry Buck’s campaign lists his home address in Greeley and states that he works for the Colorado Rockies, but gives his title as “Media/Public Relations.”
An email to Rockies front office asking what changed Monfort’s mind about Perry Buck’s campaign was not immediately returned.
Weld Strong, a so-called “527 committee,” is running digital ads for and against various Weld County candidates for office. In addition to opposing Buck, the committee is supporting her opponent Kevin Ross. In another commissioner race, the group supports Tommy Holton, who is also running against a current state representative: Caucus Chair Lori Saine (R-Firestone). Weld Strong opposes Rupert Parchment’s campaign for Senate District 23, instead supporting current Weld Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer.
The group’s publicly available information indicates ties to Colorado’s Republican establishment: from registered agent Katie Kennedy to expenditures on Majority Strategies, the Florida firm that billed the Colorado GOP Independent Expenditure Committee over $700,000 in October 2018 alone.
Buck is the former wife of U.S. Congressman and Colorado Republican Party Chair Ken Buck.
The two trios of candidates supported and opposed by Weld Strong reflects the same moderate vs. far-right divide seen throughout Colorado Republican primaries this year. Ross, Holton, and Kirkmeyer are favored by the more moderate or establishment Republicans, while Buck, Saine, and Parchment are the preferred candidates of far-right conservatives such as the Neville family and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a far-right pro-gun group.
Other Weld Strong donors include real estate developer Chad McWhinney, who is known for Loveland’s Centerra community, as well as downtown Denver projects such as the Crawford Hotel at Union Station; Weld County water rights baron Bob Lembke and oil & gas investors Arlo Richardson and Ash Jannsen, also both from Weld County.
As with Monfort, Lembke donated first for and then against one of the group’s targeted opponents. He gave Saine $4,500 last July, before writing a $10,000 check to Weld Strong this May.