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Following the money trail 

Actor George Clooney is a Barack guy. Model Ivanka Trump shelled out $1,000 to Hillary. Wal-Mart heir Jim Walton is good for Rudy Giuliani, as well as Mike Huckabee.

Michael Douglas likes just about all of them as long as they're Democrats. So far, the actor has given a total of $19,900 to presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich.

And The Decider himself? Suffice it to say that Chuck Norris is punching hard for Huckabee. Norris, the cult favorite star of the TV show Walker, Texas Ranger, wrote about his favorite candidate on World Net Daily, a conservative Web site.

"Though Giuliani might be savvy enough to lead people, Fred Thompson wise enough to wade through the tides of politics, [John] McCain tough enough to fight terrorism and [Mitt] Romney business-minded enough to grow our economy, I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee."

And, as CNN has subsequently noted, "The American people don't choose presidents. Chuck Norris does."

Closer to home, with the Feb. 5 caucus approaching faster than many imagined, opensecrets.org is tracking campaign contributions. It reports that, so far, sweeping the state's cash prize is Obama, who has raked in more than $1.2 million in Colorado contributions. Second is Romney with nearly $680,000. Clinton, with $519,000 and Giuliani with nearly $409,000, follow.

When you get to Colorado Springs, Romney is undeniably feeling the love. The former Massachusetts governor has pulled in more than $77,000 from local donors, blowing away all other candidates. (Giuliani, in second, has received $28,000 from Springs residents; Obama has $24,092 and McCain nearly $23,000.)

As Romney has gotten the most cash, likewise he has secured endorsements from some of the biggest names in Colorado GOP politics. U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, former Gov. Bill Owens and oilman/former gubernatorial candidate Bruce Benson have all endorsed Romney. El Pomar chairman Bill Hybl and his son, University of Colorado regent Kyle Hybl, have given Romney cash, as have developers Mark Morley, Lindsay Case and David Jenkins. Other contributions have come from state Rep. Larry Liston, Realtor Wynne Palermo and PR consultant Kim Mutchler.

Democratic frontrunner Clinton has not received an outpouring of local big-name support, though she has gotten love from Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, House Majority Leader Alice Madden and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. Many other Democratic leaders, including Gov. Bill Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, have declined to endorse in the presidential race, on the basis that Denver is the site of next year's Democratic convention.

Former New York City Mayor Giuliani, meanwhile, has gotten cash from former El Paso County Sheriff John Anderson and state Rep. (and former local Republican Party chair) Bob Gardner. Other Giuliani fans include House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, Sinton Dairy general manager Joel Midkiff, Realtor Jack Gloriod, former city councilwoman and longtime community activist Mary Ellen McNally, attorneys Howard Kunstle and Ed Farry, and real-estate advisor Les Gruen.

Obama has the support of former Denver Mayor Federico Pea. In Colorado Springs, the Illinois senator has assembled an eclectic group of supporters from attorney and former Colorado Public Defender Greg Walta to artist Kat Tudor and a range of contributors who describe their professions as students, bartenders, the United States Army, physicians, writers and just "Starbucks."

Peet Heuberger of Heuberger Motors, likes Bill Richardson for $250, former state Rep. Barbara Philips has given Tom Tancredo $400, and GOP consultant Patrick Davis says he has sent Huckabee a check for $1,000. Bill Carmody, a Catholic priest and longtime opponent of abortion, contributed $2,300 to Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback who has dropped out of the race.

That's one down, with many more to go.

degette@csindy.com

  • Barack Obama has raked in more than $1.2 million in Colorado.

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