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November 20, 2008 4:04 am

Big gap between Powell and Cody campaign cash

Written by Tribune Staff

Ward 1 candidates separated by less than a buck

Despite having about half of the population Cody does, Powell's mayoral race turned out to cost one fiftieth of Cody's.

The two Cody contenders, mayor-elect Nancy Tia Brown and opponent Paul Rankin, spent a combined $18,000 on their campaigns. In comparison, Mayor Scott Mangold and challenger Tim Sapp used only $351 between them, according to reports filed with the Park County Elections department.

For perspective, the annual salary for mayor of Powell is $13,200. Cody's salary is $24,000.

Both of those figures are city-approved increases from this year's pay. Powell is currently paying $6,000 annually, while Cody is paying $18,000. The new salaries take effect in 2009.

Mangold, who won re-election by spending only $100, said Powell's small size makes big spending on advertising unnecessary.

“For a city the size of Powell, most of the constituents and voters out there, you're not going to sway them much with yard signs,” he said.

Mangold said Powell folks can pretty easily get in touch with candidates and their city government. He also noted that, from the outset, it was a pretty low-key race between him and Sapp.

“There wasn't any big, big issue separating me and Tim,” Mangold said.

Mangold received 67 percent of the vote with one expenditure — an ad placed in the Tribune. Sapp, who lost with 32 percent of the vote, spent $251 on a couple ads and supplies.

As of Oct. 31, Cody's Brown — who will be the city's first female mayor — spent more than $15,516 on print and radio ads, a reception and door hangers. Of that, $3,231 came from her own pocket. Her opponent, Paul Rankin, reported spending $2,400, of which $1,836 was his own money.

Brown said that as a fairly new face in Cody politics, she felt it was “important to run an active campaign — not just sit back and hope.”

She said the spending was a result of the “unbelievable” support she received — around $12,000 in individual contributions.

“I planned an active campaign, but I really hadn't planned any budget,” she said.

Brown ultimately received close to 61 percent of the vote, while Rankin pulled in 38 percent. Both are members of the Cody City Council until the end of this year.

Powell City Council

In Powell's Ward 1 City Council race, Jim Hillberry defeated challenger Shea Reel by a solid 64-35 percent margin, but he outspent his opponent by mere pennies.

Hillberry put up $292.22 of his own funds on place cards and yard signs — that was just 84 cents more than the $291.38 Reel spent.

Ward 3 winner Don Hillman emerged as the biggest Powell spender. He spent $1,445 — all his own — on ads to defeat his opponent, John Sides. Sides reached into his wallet for $474, spending that money on newspaper advertising, brochures and a lunch for campaign volunteers.

Over in Ward 2, successful challenger Floyd Young used $582 to help pick up 75 percent of the vote. The money went toward yard signs and an ad thanking those who elected him. Incumbent councilman Mark Senn spent no money, losing his seat with 25 percent of ballots cast.

The pay rate for council members will also change for the newly-elected representatives. Councilmen elected this cycle will receive $110 per meeting, while sitting members will be paid at the previous $40-per-meeting rate.

Political parties

Over roughly the past year, the Park County Republican Party raised more than four and half a times the money received by the Park County Democrats. The local GOP reported receipts of almost $32,000, spending about $24,700 of that. Around half of the money came from cash contributions, and the other half from in-kind donations — such as fundraising auction items. The Democrats, meanwhile, raked in $6,763, spending just more than $4,800.

Park County Commission

In the County Commission race, Dave Burke and Bucky Hall spent little money after their primary victories. They both bought ads thanking voters for choosing them over the four other Republican contenders. Hall paid his son and campaign manager, Matt Hall, an additional $237 for his post-primary work and gave his campaign treasurer and wife, Donnitta Hall, $200 for her efforts.

Powell schools, NWC

The three unchallenged candidates for the Park County School District #1 School Board — David Northrup, Lee Craig, and Rob McCray — spent zero dollars on their successful bids.

Gloria Hedderman likewise reported no spending in her uncontested election to the Northwest College Board of Trustees as a Powell respresentative.

In the race for two Cody-area seats on the NWC board, successful candidates Marty Coe and Mark Westerhold spent $324 and $183, respectively. Paul Fees used $220 in his unsuccessful bid.