Robinson taps Summit County donors, Powell looks to Wasatch County |

Robinson taps Summit County donors, Powell looks to Wasatch County

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The candidates competing in District 54 of the Utah House of Representatives have filed campaign-finance statements with state election officials showing that the Democrat had raised more money and spent more than his Republican opponent by late October.

Chris Robinson, a Democrat who lives in the Snyderville Basin, reported raising a little more than $34,000 and spending a little more than $32,000. Kraig Powell, the incumbent Republican from Heber, had raised just less than $20,000 and spent a little more than $16,000. Powell is a two-term legislator whose district includes parts of the West Side of Summit County for the first time.

The finances have been a sticking point between the two, as Powell has especially nicked Robinson for his donor list. Powell has refused to accept donations from special interests, lobbyists and corporations that lobby the Legislature. He said he is surprised and disappointed that Robinson has opted to take such donations.

"There is a perception among the public that there is too much influence over the Legislature," Powell said, adding that he is not suggesting improprieties by Robinson.

Powell’s donor list is heavy with individuals or couples from Wasatch County. Henry Glasheen, who is the chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, and Park City School Board members Lisa Kirchenheiter and Charles Cunningham are three of the notable donors from Summit County. Powell said his work at the Capitol is not as known in the Park City area as it is in his home county.

"I have to contact individuals, of course, I know," he said as he spoke about the financial support from Wasatch County.

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Robinson has had fundraising successes in the Park City area and the Salt Lake Valley. Well-known individuals or couples from the Park City area who have donated to Robinson include former Park City Mayor Brad Olch, Park City Councilman Andy Beerman with his wife Thea Leonard and Bob Richer, who served in elected office in Park City and in Summit County.

Robinson described some of his corporate donors as being longtime friends. One donation of note, for $2,000, came from Granite Construction Company in early May.

Robinson is a member of the Summit County Council and Granite Construction Company has won a County Courthouse bid to perform work while Robinson has been in office. Robinson said the contract did not require County Council approval. He said the $2,000 donation was based on a longtime friendship between himself and people at the firm. He said Granite Construction Company has not performed work for his development company.

Another corporate donation came from Lagoon Corporation Inc. of the Farmington amusement park, which gave $2,000 in April. Robinson said the owners of Lagoon have been business partners in other ventures with his family since the 1950s.

Robinson’s donor list also includes law firms like Siegfried & Jensen, which has given at least $1,250, Craig Swapp & Associates, Parsons Behle & Latimer and Robert J. DeBry & Associates. He said he has known most of the attorneys for years through business, education or personal relationships.

"They want good government. They don’t have an ax to grind," he said.