December 3 2004, 7:14 AM
It's rare that any Democratic candidate is able to spend more on a campaign than the Republican opponent. Certainly no one expected that millionaire Peter Coors, who was legally entitled to spend as much of his own money on his campaign as he wanted, would let himself be outspent. But as it turns out, that is exactly what happened, at least between the two official campaigns -- Salazar raised and spent $8.5 million while Coors raised and spent only $7.3 million. Of course, this does not include money spent by the national parties or by independent groups, which if included in the total likely would bring the numbers about even. Still, Republicans who backed Coors thinking he would fund his own campaign to the hilt are likely disappointed. Coors did provide enough of his own funding that he triggered the so-called "millionaire's amendment," which raised the limit on the dollars Salazar's donors could give to his campaign and provided Salazar a fundraising boost during the home stretch. But much of the money Coors provided to the campaign came in the form of loans -- his campaign now owes him $1.3 million. But because Coors is not in the Senate, there is not much reason for donors to contribute to his 2004 campaign and get that loan repaid. This is just another reason to suspect Pete Coors' first foray into electoral politics will be his last.