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August 16, 2012 9:43 am

Candidates collect more cash

Written by CJ Baker

This year’s local races for the state Legislature and Park County Commission are proving a little more expensive than yearshil past.

Campaign finance reports filed this week indicate that the unusual amount of competition for the state House and Senate has brought substantially more money into the races than recent years, while seven county commission candidates have already committed more money to the race than 12 candidates did in 2010.

The pre-primary finance reports filed Tuesday only cover contributions; expenditures — as well as late contributions — are reported after the Aug. 21 primary election.

Commission race

Lee Livingston of Wapiti has raised the most money among the seven Republicans vying for two seats on the Park County Commission, pulling in $11,251.80 by the time of the pre-primary report. He’s raised $7,620 in contributions from 26 individuals or couples, plus chipping in $3,531,80 himself and $100 from a family member. Among his 21 donors from a Cody address are State Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, and former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson. The remaining contributors were from Wapiti, Meeteetse, Powell and from out-of-state.

Alex Gisoldi, a former Park County Homeland Security Coordinator who lives in Wapiti, has the second-most money in the race. Gisoldi’s report say he’s put $6,824.48 in the race from his coffers, plus a $150 contribution from a Wapiti resident.

Right behind Gisoldi in the money race is Dan Laursen of Powell, who’s put $6,271.92 of his own money in his bid for the commission.

Sitting Commissioner Bucky Hall has $5,500. That includes $250 of his own cash, $500 from family, and $4,750 he’s collected from two dozen citizens. Among his financial backers are fellow Commissioner Joe Tilden, former fellow Commissioner Jill Shockley Siggins, Simpson and Coe. Twenty-one of the 24 donors were from Cody, with the other three hailing from Powell, Meeteetse and out-of-state.

A total of $3,825 has been invested by candidate Greg Gaspers, a Cody designer. He’s raised $1,875 from 14 donors (who include former Commissioner Gary Lundvall) and $1,450 from his own wallet and family.

John Wetzel, the manager of the Buyer’s Guide and a Powell City Councilman, had $1,585.73 in his campaign at the time of the report. The majority, $1,135.73, was his own money, plus $450 he raised from four people.

Candidate Bob Stevens of Wapiti, a retired lawyer, has put no money in.

House District 50

Incumbent House District 50 Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, indicated in reports that he has $1,283.12 in the bank from past campaign years, but has raised nothing in 2012.

His three opponents in the Republican primary, meanwhile, have a combined $23,630 at their disposal.

Challenger Charles Cloud has taken out a nearly $14,000 loan for his House District 50 campaign and collected $500 from four individuals in Cody to give him a leading total of $14,465.13, the report says.

David Northrup, a Willwood farmer, has $5,890.40 on the table. The bulk of that campaign cash comes from checks he personally cut which total $4,120.40. Another $1,270 came from 10 Park County donors, while the Wyoming Education Association — which endorsed Northrup — chipped in $500.

The top true fundraiser in the H.D. 50 race has been T.D. Ball, an industry consultant from Cody. He’s pulled in $3,225 from nine donors and a political action committee, the finance reports say.

Of the $2,475 from the individual donors, just $275 comes from Park County residents, with $2,150 coming from folks in Texas, where Ball used to live. A Wyoming Freedom group associated with the Wyoming Gun Owners Association also kicked in $750 towards Ball’s campaign. Ball himself contributed $50 to give him a total of $3,275 invested in the race.

The district represents east Cody, Clark, Ralston, Heart Mountain, Crandall and Willwood.

Senate District 18

Over in Senate District 18, long-term state Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, has less money in the race than his Republican primary opponent, Bob Berry. Berry has some $16,725 committed to the race to represent Park County west of Powell and north of Meeteetse, as compared to $9,550 raised by Coe.

Berry has pitched in $15,000 of his own money, his finance report says, plus $1,725 he’s raised from others.

That includes a $500 contribution from the conservative family values group WyWatch contributions from nine Park County residents and one $300 donation from Drew Hill of Cheyenne. Hill is the son of Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, who has clashed with Coe.

A group of 15 people have contributed $6,350 to Coe’s campaign, including former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton and Rep. Tom Lockhart, R-Casper. Seven Cody residents also contributed, along with a Cheyenne man and four out-of-state residents. Committees representing Pfizer, AT&T, oil, gas and mining companies, and Wyoming dentists, lawyers, stock growers and the hospitality industry have given another $3,200 to Coe.

House District 25

Candidate Steve Walker has grabbed a lead with campaign finances in the race to represent the Powell area in the state House of Representatives.

Walker’s report says the candidate has $5,661.60 in the race: $3,326.60 of his own money, plus $1,835 from 11 individual donors (nine from Park County and two from out-of-state) and $500 from the Wyoming Education Association’s political action committee.

Dave Blevins, meanwhile, has put $2,895.91 of his money towards his campaign, according to state records.

David Kellett has raised $822, with $597 from himself and $225 from a pair of Park County donors.

Billy Greaham has received $120 in donations from two individuals.

All four candidates are Republicans.

House District 26

The incumbent representative in House District 26, Republican Elaine Harvey of Lovell, has put together $7,345 for her re-election bid. That includes $3,854 from individuals. Among her financial backers are eight donors in Park and Big Horn counties, three Cheyenne residents, State Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, Gayla Maxfield (the wife of Secretary of State Max Maxfield), former Gov. Freudenthal and Rep. Lockhart.  Groups representing Pfizer, energy companies, state educators, lawyers and stockgrowers have kicked in another $3,200.

Harvey’s challenger, Rob DiLorenzo, has built up $1,175. A majority of the money, $675, came from nine Big Horn and Park County residents, while the remaining $500 came from WyWatch.

The district represents northern Big Horn County, plus Garland and Frannie.

Powell races

Powell Mayoral Candidate Don Hillman, currently a city councilman, had not filed his pre-primary report as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Park County Elections staff. The reports were due Tuesday.

Powell City Councilmen Eric Paul, Jim Hillberry and Floyd Young, all unopposed in their re-election bids, reported raising no money outside of paying the $25 filing fee.

Amber Yager, who’s running for Hillman’s council seat, similarly listed no contributions outside of filing fees; her opponent, Josh Shorb, hadn’t filed his report as of Wednesday afternoon, the elections office said.

Editor's note: This version of the story corrects Drew Hill's relation to Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.

3 comments

  • Comment Link August 17, 2012 7:08 am posted by TN

    Repubs are all about money,little wonder why labor and wages suffer.As long as RINO's keep ruling,there will never be a level playing field for normal folks.

  • Comment Link August 19, 2012 11:55 am posted by Dewey

    It used to be in American democracy not that long ago that voters actually voted for candidates to select them .
    These days, the candidates buy those votes, or certain select contributors cut to the chase and just buy the candidates.

    Elections: Name your price.

    Bottom Line: We have to repeal Citizens United that allows unlimited corporate campaign financing in the name of them being " people" , too. Yeah , right.

  • Comment Link August 21, 2012 11:16 am posted by Loans101

    It's definitely election fund-raising season. Let the games begin!

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