Park City Council incumbents thump field in campaign fundraising
The two Park City Councilors seeking reelection raised the most campaign funds by wide margins as the Tuesday primary approached, required campaign finance reports showed, a display of the power of incumbency in a year when the other candidates largely lack broad name recognition in the community.
City Councilors Nann Worel and Becca Gerber by early August had each raised more than double the campaign funds as anyone else in the seven-person field. Worel and Gerber are each seeking second terms. The two incumbents are each seen as formidable candidates in a campaign that lacks an overriding issue and at a time when many Parkites appear to support the City Hall agenda.
Worel topped the field in fundraising, amassing $8,775 by Aug. 3. She had spent $4,193.68 by that time, leaving her with $4,581.32 to spend in the final days of the primary season or to carry into the fall campaign should she advance out of the primary.
Worel and her husband, Mike, provided the bulk of the contributions, though. The couple put $5,000 into the campaign on June 6. The $5,000 represents nearly 57 percent of the overall total.
The No. 2 contributor, at $1,000, was James Bartimus from Leawood, Kansas, a longtime friend of the Worels.
Worel also received a $200 contribution from homeseller Heidi Gatch and a $100 contribution from Scott and Carol Loomis. Scott Loomis is the leader of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust. Beth and Roger Armstrong contributed $100. Roger Armstrong is a member of the Summit County Council while Beth Armstrong is the executive director of the People’s Health Clinic. Worel is one of Beth Armstrong’s predecessors as executive director of the not-for-profit organization that provides health services for the uninsured.
Worel’s campaign expenditures mostly were put toward design and printing shirts as well as signs and advertisements. The $4,193.68 in expenditures also topped the field as Worel attempted to solidify her spot in the top tier of the field.
Worel’s haul as the primary approached followed four years after proving herself as an impressive fundraiser. In her first City Council campaign, in 2015, Worel led the field in fundraising with a little more than $20,000 brought in. Much of the total that year came from contributions from herself, her husband and the estate of her late mother.
Gerber, meanwhile, brought in $4,520 in contributions and spent $615.36, leaving her with a balance of $3,904.64. Her largest contributor, at $2,000, was Sue and Dick Roth. Carole Fontana contributed $500. Other contributions included $100 from Scott and Carol Loomis, $100 from Sally Elliott, who served in elected office in Park City and Summit County, and Park City Planning Commissioners Laura Suesser and Sarah Hall, who each contributed $50.
Highlights from the other candidates’ submittals included:
• Deanna Rhodes raising $1,460 and spending $781.68, leaving her $678.32 by early August. Five people had contributed $100 apiece, the largest of the dollar figures. They included Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson. Former Summit County Democratic Party Chair Cheryl Butler contributed $100 while the current chair of the party, Meredith Reed, contributed $75. Rhodes spent the funds on yard signs, campaign literature printing and shirts.
• Max Doilney raising $1,160 and spending $859, leaving him a balance of $301. Two people — John Halsey and Maren Mullin — contributed $200 each, the largest contributors. Most of the expenditures went toward printing signs and making magnets.
• Ed Parigian raising $660 and spending $278.86, leaving him with a balance of $381.14. Parigian mostly self-funded the campaign, contributing $500 of the overall total. Hope and Sandy Melville contributed $100. Parigian spent funds on printing campaign materials like signs.
• Daniel Lewis raising $636.50 and spending the same amount, leaving him with a balance of $0. Volker Ritzinger contributed the bulk of the campaign funds, making two contributions totaling $536.50. His expenditures included campaign decals and T-shirts.
• Chadwick Fairbanks III raising $50 and spending $48, leaving him with a $2 balance. The combined dollar figures of the contributions and expenditures did not reach the state benchmark for itemization.
The primary on Tuesday will cut one of the candidates for Election Day in November. Three seats are on the ballot — those held by Worel, Gerber and Lynn Ware Peek. Ware Peek opted against seeking a full first term in office after a midterm appointment.
The candidate who is dropped from the field on Tuesday will be required to file a final financial statement shortly after the primary. Those who advance on Tuesday will not be required to file another statement until Oct. 29, a week before Election Day.
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Most of the $5.1 million increase over last year’s budget is from an increase in grant funding for the Health Department.