The fateful Republican primary is less than a week away. Candidates for office just filed their last campaign finance report. Here is a breakdown of how much money each Iron County Republican candidate raised and how they spent the cash.
More: Three Iron County GOP debates focus on future of the county at Southern Utah University
Senate District 28
This race is between a veteran politician, Sen. Evan Vickers, and a political newcomer, Patrick Larson. And the difference between the two can be seen through the massive differences in their campaign finance reports.
Vickers, who is the Senate Majority Leader, has raised nearly a quarter of a million for this election and Larson has just over $2,000.
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In total, Vickers has received just over $230,000 in contributions for this election, although $130,00 of that has come from transfers from past campaign funds during the last time Vickers was up for re-election in 2018, according to his campaign finance reports.
Vickers’ contributors came from a mix of political action committees, businesses, trade associations, other politicians and residents. Vickers’ biggest donor was the Utah Republican Senate Campaign Committee, which donated $35,000 to his campaign. This committee is described as representing members of the majority in the senate and made similarly large donations to other Republican incumbents. In total, this committee has spent about $299,600 so far in this election cycle.
Several other Utah politicians contributed to Vickers, including $1,000 from the committee to elect Sen. Mike McKell (R-Spanish Fork), $1,000 from Sen. Scott Sandall’s (R-Tremonton) Campaign fund and $1,000 from Friends of Sen. Ann Millner (R-Ogden). Vickers also has gotten contributions from various businesses, including $3,000 from Energy Solutions and small donations from various associations, including the Utah Home Builders Association and Utah Food Industry Association.
Vickers still has about $135,000 in cash after spending about $94,700 on this election. His largest campaign expense was on advertising, Vickers spent about $39,600 on advertising, which is about 41.5% of his expenditures. His next largest expense was on Election Hive, a political consulting group. Vickers spent just under $32,000 on services from Election Hive.
Vickers also spent $17,000 for a company to gather signatures to ensure he would appear on the primary ballot, even though Vickers did qualify to appear in the primary through the Republican caucus method.
Larson raised $2,099 in contributions but ran a deficit in both the primary and convention. As of the latest filing, Larson had a negative campaign balance of just over $3,500 since he had spent about $5,600, according to his campaign finance reports.
Larson’s contributors are a mix of individuals and a political action committee. The committee is called Platform Republicans PAC and donated $1,100 to Larson and is based in St. George. This PAC has just under $17,000 in expenditures for this election cycle.
Besides Platform Republicans, the rest of Larson’s cash came from individual donations, including $19 from himself.
Larson spent just under $4,000 on advertising costs, which made up about 70.3% of his costs. His biggest expense was on signs from Crazy Cheap Political Signs, where Larson spent just under $2,800 on signs.
Iron County Commission
There are two Iron County Commission seats open for this election. Both races only Republicans filed so it’s likely the primary election will determine who wins these four-year terms on the commission. Although the races are for similar positions, one election saw a massive increase in money spent and cash raised compared to the other.
This election saw a massive amount of fundraising and cash spent for a local county election. More than $183,000 was raised and just under $160,000 was spent between the two candidates, Paul Cozzens and Steve Miller.
Cozzens is the incumbent in this election but fell far behind his challenger in both cash raised and money spent. Miller spent over $115,000 on this election and got $138,500 in contributions, with an overwhelming majority of those contributions coming from one address in Washington County, according to his campaign finance reports.
That address is 6249 Gilbert Industrial Ct., Hurricane, and Miller got $135,000 in contributions from six different entities associated with this address, which makes up 97.5% of his campaign funds. These contributions include $25,000 each from the Gilbert Development Corporation, Steve Gilbert, SLG Utah LLC, Utah Iron LLC and Gilbert Iron LLC, for a total of $125,000 in five different donations of $25,000. Miller also got a $10,000 contribution from Crusher Rental and Sales which has the same address listed as the other large donations to Miller.
Steve Gilbert is associated with many of the entities that donated $25,000. He is the registered agent for SLG Utah LLC and is listed as the CEO for Gilbert Development Corporation, according to the Utah Division of Corporations. This company focuses on engineering, development and mining operations, according to the company website.
The Gilbert Development Corporation also lists on its site it shares a location with Crusher Rental and Sales. This rental company lists Steve Gilbert as its CEO and Cyndi Gilbert is the registered agent on the Division of Corporations website for Crusher Rental and Sales.
Cyndi Gilbert is also the registered agent for Gilbert Iron LLC and Utah Iron LLC. The Utah Iron LLC has a website that says the company mines iron ore from the Comstock Mountain Lion Pit and made a $50,000 contribution last year to Maile Wilson Edwards’ — the former Cedar City Mayor — unsuccessful re-election effort.
The other $3,500 Miller got in contributions came mostly from individuals including $50 from himself and $200 from Cedar City council member R. Scott Phillips.
With Miller spending over $115,000 on his campaign, a majority of those funds — 54.9% or about $63,400 — spent on advertising efforts. Miller’s largest expense was on advertising through CCR-St. George where he spent over $22,000. But Miller also spent a large amount of campaign funds specifically on campaign staff, he spent under $37,000 on services provided by campaign staffers.
Although Cozzens didn’t break six figures on his campaign report, he still raised and spent a large amount of cash on this race. Cozzens spent just over $44,100 and got just over $44,800 in contributions, according to his campaign finance reports.
Cozzens contributors were a range of individuals and businesses, which included a few hundred dollars from both Southern Utah Mortuary and the Iron County Board of Realtors. He also received contributions from other elected officials, including $300 from the Cedar City Mayor Garth Green, $100 from Tyler Melling, a Cedar City council member, and $300 from Evan Vickers, a Republican state senator.
But the largest contributions to Cozzens came from the Bateman Irrevocable Trust, which gave $5,000, $7,500 from Gary Holyoak and $10,000 from Bill Hirschi, the owner of Diamond H Ranch. Cozzens also contributed $8,500 to his own campaign through a loan.
In a similar fashion to Miller, Cozzens spent most of his campaign’s $44,100 in expenditures on advertising. He spent about 75.6% or about $33,200 of his campaign cash on advertising costs, with his biggest expense being about $10,200 on video services provided by Kidder Communications.
There is no challenger to whoever the Republican nominee will be for this election, but Miller still had just over $23,000 in cash on hand while Cozzens had just under $700 to spend on the general election.
This county commissioner race saw much less spending than the other one in Iron County. In total, $16,175 was raised and just over $14,000 was spent between the two candidates, Mike Bleak and Destry Griffiths.
Bleak is the incumbent and was able to outraise and outspend Griffiths. Bleak spent just under $8,200 and got just over $8,300 in contributions, according to his campaign finance report.
These contributions were from businesses and individuals, including $250 from Rocky Ridge Inc. and $200 from R. Scott Phillips, a Cedar City Council member. Bleak’s biggest contribution came from an in-kind donation of $5,000 from Got Safety, a software management company.
That $5,000 in-kind donation covered Bleak’s largest expense, which was campaign signs. Bleak spent most of his campaign cash — 86.9% or about $7,100 — on advertising expenses.
Griffiths got just under $7,900 in campaign contributions, all of which came from individuals, according to his campaign finance report. Although his contributors were individuals, several gave over $1,000 including $1,500 from William Jensen and $4,500 in cash and services provided by Brad Green.
Like the other candidates, Griffiths focused his campaign funds on advertising expenses. In total he had just over $5,800 in expenditures and 68.9% or about $4,000 of that was spent on advertising expenses. His biggest expense was $1,500 on campaign signs from Robert Ennis.
There is no challenger to whoever the Republican nominee will be for this election, but Bleak still had about $160 in cash on hand while Griffiths had just under $2,000 to spend on the general election.
Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow on Twitter @seanhemmers34. Our work depends on subscribers so if you want more coverage on these issues you can subscribe here: http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.