Wong put up own cash | ParkRecord.com

Wong put up own cash

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Dennis Wong, trying to finish what had been a solid campaign for the Park City Council, pumped more than $4,200 of his own money into his election account as Parkites were readying to vote.

According to a campaign-finance statement submitted to City Hall after his Election Day defeat, Wong, who is a retired prosecutor, loaned his campaign $4,209.82 on Oct. 28. He followed with a $51.70 loan on Nov. 2, the Friday before Parkites went to the polls.

The late-hour infusions amount to 55 percent of the money Wong’s campaign brought in during the election. He was his largest contributor. The bigger of the two donations had been reported on a previous campaign-finance statement.

Wong raised the most money and his campaign costs were the highest of the field. When the campaign started, Wong was new to local political circles, and he spent much of the summer and fall attempting to gain name recognition as he competed with better-known candidates like incumbents Candy Erickson and Joe Kernan.

Wong was an aggressive campaigner, and he delivered sharp stump speeches criticizing City Hall. The style drew lots of attention at the start of the campaign, with him finishing a surprising second in a September primary.

The support eroded, though, as Kernan solidified his base. Kernan beat Wong by 51 votes — less than one percentage point — for the third City Council spot.

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Key contributors to the Wong campaign included three households on Webster Drive, who gave $500 each. Charlie and Mary Wintzer gave $100. Charlie Wintzer is a Planning Commissioner, and the couple holds large tracts of property in the Iron Horse district.

Wong spent about 39 percent of his money between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2, paying for printing and mailing costs and advertising in The Park Record.

Wong was unavailable this week, and he did not return repeated phone messages seeking comment.

The financials of Campaign 2007 are typical for City Council elections since the 2002 Winter Olympics. The post-Olympic campaigns have been less competitive than those in the years before the Games, and the fundraising and spending has reflected the low-key nature of recent Park City politics.

Highlights of the other candidates include:

First-place finisher Erickson raised $2,050 and spent $1,647.71, with her contributions coming early in the campaign. Late expenses included newspaper advertising.

Kernan brought in $3,450, with $2,700 of the money coming from family members and Kernan putting in another $400 himself. Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer donated $100. Kernan spent $2,548.52

Liza Simpson, who finished second and takes office in January, raised $6,924.95 and spent $6,840.32. Almost all her contributions came early in the campaign, and expenses close to Election Day included printing, mailings and newspaper advertising.

Bruce Taylor, fifth on Election Day, raised $6,749, including $2,000 he loaned his campaign. He spent $5,309.31, with an advertising firm costing him the most.

Kacy Quinley, the last-place finisher, ran a balanced $2,718.80 campaign, with her fundraising efforts early in the campaign and most of her expenses paying for signs.