Journalists have raised doubts about whether State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s expected to announce his campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet today, can raise the $10 million or more required to unseat the well-financed Democratic uncumbant. It’s a reasonable question, for sure, but recent political shifts could be opening bank accounts for Neville that were locked just months ago.
Colorado’s own Dudley Brown has had close ties to the collapsing presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (See joint photo.). Paul has signed fundraising appeals for Brown, which so pissed off the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the NRA didn’t even invite Paul to an NRA Leadership Forum, which was attended by 12 GOP presidential hopeufls in April.
Brown may now be looking for a new gun-loving federal candidate prop up with millions of dollars. And that lucky candidate could be Neville, whose close ties to Dudley are not in dispute as you can read below if you need to.
But does Dudley have that kind of money? Well, he’s president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), which raised over $16 million in 501c4 political-attack funds, according to its lastest-available federal filing. It’s impossible to know how much of that dark money could be diverted to Colorado’s Senate race, but the money is big. And for what it’s worth, back in 2013, Dudley said his organization would spend at least $1 million on campaigns.
Dudley is also executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), which played a key role in organizing recall campaigns and in mobilizing voters in senate primaries in Jefferson County. It’s credited for pushing State Sen. Laura Woods to actual victory last year. So there’s that.
And Neville may owe his first legislative victory to Brown, who went all in to help Neville win a 2011 vacancy committee appointment, to replace Sen. Mike Kopp. In a mean campaign, Neville beat his neighbor, then GOP State Rep. Jim Kerr.
Later, during his during his 2014 campaign against Democratic encumbant Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, Neville was endorsed by RMGO PAC and boasted about his ties to RMGO .
Neville stated on his website: “As a proud member of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, I was honored to defend your Second Amendment rights in the Colorado State Senate last year… I was proud to sponsor ‘Constitutional Carry’ legislation and be recognized by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners as the strongest defender in the legislature of your Second Amendment rights.”
That kind of talk may translate into the cash Neville needs to have a shot at Bennet. At least in theory. But money is just one obstacle for a conservative like Neville in Colorado.