District 54 Democrat hauls in campaign monies
October 28, 2016
Rudi Kohler, the Democratic candidate for the legislative seat that includes Park City, hauled in nearly $25,000 in campaign contributions by Sept. 30, beating his Republican opponent by a wide margin, as he received funding from individuals, politicians and interest groups.
Kohler's required Sept. 30 report showed he raised $24,756.42 in campaign monies and spent $15,530.22. Tim Quinn, the Republican candidate, reported contributions totaling $6,962.92 and expenses of $5,113.74. The numbers are expected to change dramatically in later reports as the two continue to raise funds and spend them. Recent disclosures, required more regularly as Election Day approaches, show Quinn received valuable donations of services in October, as an example.
The two are competing to succeed the retiring Republican legislator Kraig Powell in District 54 of the state House of Representatives. The district runs roughly from Heber City to Park City. It has long been seen as Republican, but Kohler anticipates an opportunity without the moderate incumbent on the ballot. Quinn, staunchly conservative, envisions winning on Election Day with an especially strong showing in the Heber City area. Both of the candidates hail from the Heber City side of the district.
The Kohler disclosure report lists a number of recognizable figures in Park City and surrounding Summit County. Sally Elliott, who held elected office in Park City and Summit County, gave $100 and Chris Robinson, a Summit County Councilor, provided $100. He also received contributions from Peter Clemens, who is the Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District, and Brian King, a Democratic legislator whose district includes a part of Summit County. Kohler received $1,921 from Adam Bronfman of Park City. Robert Hilder, the Summit County attorney, contributed $150.
Kohler also received campaign funds from a Salt Lake City committee dedicated to electing Democrats to the state House of Representatives. The committee gave $3,000 between two contributions and added another $1,000 later. A steelworkers union contributed $500 while a transportation union provided $250. Michael Weinholtz, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, contributed $500. The Utah Education Association contributed $500.
Kohler said his fundraising efforts were favorably received in the Park City area, describing that part of the district as being more "philanthropic" as well as more heavily weighted toward the Democrats than elsewhere. The union contribution were "welcomed but unsolicited," Kohler said.
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"It's seeking a change in government . . . They like what I'm saying," he said about contributors, describing the donors as desiring increases in the amount of funding for education earmarked by the state.
Quinn secured a $2,000 contribution from the Utah Association of Realtors and another $400 from the group, and a $500 contribution from the Utah Bankers Association. He received contributions from five law firms in the Salt Lake Valley. Quinn also received a $500 contribution from a committee tied to the Park City Board of Realtors. Corporate interests that contributed to Quinn include the mortgage, petroleum, beer wholesaler, auto dealer and homebuilder industries. Energy Solutions contributed $250. A campaign committee of Kevin Van Tassell, a state senator whose district includes Park City, contributed $500. A firm called Fitspot provided approximately $13,332 to the Quinn campaign through donations of services. Quinn said the services were related to three mailers.
Quinn said nearly all of the campaign contributions were unsolicited. He said the campaign is about ideas and messaging rather than contributions. Quinn said he talks to contributors about topics like the state's strong economy.
"We didn't go after individual donors," Quinn said, adding, "This, to me, is not about money."
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