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Candidates hardly spent in ’05

Reflecting the relatively uncompetitive election season, the Park City politicians on last November’s ballot hardly spent any money on their campaigns.

The candidates recently filed final campaign-finance statements showing that the 2005 election was inexpensive, with two of the winners spending nothing on their successful bids for office.

According to the statements, filed at City Hall, Mayor Dana Williams raised no money and spent no money on his campaign. He was unopposed as he won his second term in office with nearly 100 percent of the votes.

Jim Hier, an incumbent City Councilman, also spent no money on his successful re-election bid.

Roger Harlan, who won a seat on the City Council, was the only candidate to spend more than a few hundred dollars. He spent $3065.22 after receiving a little more than $4,000 in campaign donations.

Mark Blue, who badly trailed Harlan and Hier in the City Council contest, raised $150 and spent $221.45.

The low campaign-finance totals contrast with the money that was raised and spent in 2001, when the same three seats were on the ballot. The 2001 campaign is believed to be the most expensive in Park City’s history, with tens of thousands of dollars spent in the fiercely competitive election, marked by post-Sept. 11 fears and the looming 2002 Winter Olympics.

Williams said it was a relief that he did not have to raise money for his campaign and instead was able to tend to City Hall business like building a parking garage and the removal of mine waste from Empire Canyon.

"Basically, I kept doing my job," Williams said.

He described the difference between his 2001 and 2005 campaigns as "night and day."

"I could not be more pleased not to worry about going and raising money," Williams said.

In 2001, when Williams defeated then-City Councilman Fred Jones, Williams spent a little more than $33,000 on the campaign. Jones spent a little more than $25,000 on his campaign.

Afterward, there were worries about the amount of money that the two spent, which totaled more than the local state House of Representatives campaign the year before and more than the 1997 mayoral election, which at the time was seen as being expensive for a Park City election.

Williams said he decided against spending money on his campaign after the filing window closed in August without a challenger. He said being the sitting mayor allowed him other methods to publicize his campaign platform rather than purchasing advertisements, which traditionally are one of the most expensive campaign costs.

Hier, the other candidate who spent no money on the campaign, said there was little controversy in the campaign. Had other candidates received lots of publicity regarding a stand against him, Hier said he would have needed to spend money to respond to the challenger.

Hier used campaign signs leftover from his 2001 campaign.

He said when a candidate does not need to raise money, the public should have more confidence that an elected official is impartial because there is not a chance of conflicts of interest regarding campaign donors.

Harlan said the campaign-finance numbers, because they were low, could encourage others to run for the City Council in 2007, when three seats are on the ballot.

"I think it sends a very clear signal for the next election, in two years: anyone can run," Harlan said, hoping that the 2007 City Council campaign draws eight or nine candidates partly because they see a campaign as being more affordable than before.

Harlan said he expected to spend more money on the campaign but when the primary election was canceled because candidates ended their bids for office, he reconsidered his planned expenditures. At the beginning of the campaign, Harlan, for instance, expected to send fliers to all the people living in the 84060 zip code.

"Early on in the campaign I didn’t know later on two of the candidates would drop off," Harlan said.


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