Rancher puts $100,000 into effort to recall lesbian Colorado lawmaker

The nascent effort to recall a state Democratic lawmaker has found a generous benefactor: Weld County rancher Steve Wells has donated $100,000 through his company to unseat Rep. Rochelle Galindo, who represents Greeley.

New campaign finance reports show Wells, a major Republican donor, is the largest single donor to the committee established to lead the recall, which raised another $2,542 from small donors. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Greeley Tribune earlier reported Wells’ expected donation. The new finance records confirm his intentions to bankroll the campaign.

Galindo is one of several Democratic lawmakers being targeted for recall after voting to reform oil and gas regulations and supporting other progressive policies. A committee to recall Gov. Jared Polis has also been established. However, no other recall committee has raised even a fraction of what Wells donated, campaign finance records show.

The committee to recall Polis, for example, reported just $30 in donations.

Galindo, who raised about $150,000 during the 2018 election and has about $3,000 on hand, dismissed the campaign against her.

“This whole recall effort, we’ve opened up the blinds as far as the real intentions,” said Galindo, who is a Latina lesbian. “It’s being led by radical extremists who are attacking me for who I am and not my votes.”

Galindo defended her position on the high-profile oil and gas reform bill, saying the local control provisions protected the oil-rich Weld County.

“It wasn’t a vote I took lightly,” she said.

Wells owns about 32,000 acres northeast of Greeley, which, according to The Greeley Tribune, has 800 oil and gas wells on the property. The rancher told the Tribune back in 2014 that oil and gas helped him pay his bills and keep the farm that’s been in his family since 1988.

Public records show Wells has been a big donor to both Colorado Republicans and outside spending groups that focus on energy issues.

Wells’ company, Wells Ranch LLP, donated $400,000 in 2018 to an energy development PAC called Spirit of Colorado and $50,000 to a group called Front Range Conservatives. Wells himself has given to the re-election campaigns of Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, Colorado Sen. John Cooke and former state Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

 

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