The impending Republican primary is mere days away, and as the candidates vying for various offices gear up for the showdown, the release of their latest campaign finance reports adds another layer of intrigue to the political landscape. In this breakdown, we delve into the financial aspects of each Iron County Republican candidate’s campaign, shedding light on their fundraising efforts and expenditure patterns.
Senate District 28: Evan Vickers vs. Patrick Larson
The Senate District 28 race pits veteran politician Senator Evan Vickers against political newcomer Patrick Larson, and the financial contrast between the two candidates is stark.
Senator Evan Vickers, who also holds the role of Senate Majority Leader, has amassed a formidable war chest for this election, with contributions nearing a quarter of a million dollars. In stark contrast, Patrick Larson’s campaign has secured just over $2,000 in contributions.
Senator Vickers’ campaign has raised a total of over $230,000 in contributions for this election. However, it’s worth noting that a significant portion of this funding, approximately $130,000, comes from transfers from past campaign funds dating back to his 2018 re-election campaign.
Vickers’ contributor base is diverse, comprising political action committees, businesses, trade associations, fellow politicians, and residents. Notably, the Utah Republican Senate Campaign Committee emerged as Vickers’ most significant donor, contributing $35,000 to his campaign. This committee, representing the majority in the Senate, has been a major player in supporting Republican incumbents and has deployed approximately $299,600 during this election cycle.
Several prominent Utah politicians have also thrown their support behind Vickers, including a $1,000 donation from the committee to elect Senator Mike McKell, another $1,000 from Senator Scott Sandall’s campaign fund, and a $1,000 contribution from Friends of Senator Ann Millner. Vickers has further received contributions from various businesses, such as $3,000 from Energy Solutions, along with smaller donations from associations like the Utah Home Builders Association and Utah Food Industry Association.
After expenditures totaling approximately $94,700 on his campaign, Senator Vickers still maintains around $135,000 in cash reserves. His most substantial campaign expense was dedicated to advertising, accounting for about 41.5% of his total expenditures. The second-largest expense was allocated to Election Hive, a political consulting group, with an expenditure just shy of $32,000. Vickers also spent $17,000 to secure signatures for ballot access, even though he had already qualified through the Republican caucus method.
In contrast, Patrick Larson’s campaign raised $2,099 in contributions but experienced a deficit in both the primary and convention. As of the latest filing, Larson reported a negative campaign balance of just over $3,500, as campaign expenses reached approximately $5,600.
Larson’s contributors consist of a mix of individuals and a political action committee named Platform Republicans PAC, based in St. George. This PAC, which boasts just under $17,000 in expenditures for this election cycle, contributed $1,100 to Larson’s campaign. The remainder of Larson’s funding came from individual donations, including a $19 contribution from himself.
Larson’s campaign primarily allocated its resources to advertising costs, constituting roughly 70.3% of his total expenses. The most substantial expense was associated with Crazy Cheap Political Signs, where Larson spent just under $2,800 on campaign signs.
Iron County Commission: Two Seats Up for Grabs
In this election, two Iron County Commission seats are up for grabs, both featuring Republican candidates. Let’s delve into the financial dynamics of these races.
Seat B: Paul Cozzens vs. Steve Miller
The race for Seat B in the Iron County Commission witnessed a considerable influx of funds and campaign spending, setting it apart as a prominent contest for a local county election. Combined, the two candidates, Paul Cozzens and Steve Miller, raised over $183,000 and spent nearly $160,000.
Despite being the incumbent, Paul Cozzens trailed his challenger, Steve Miller, in both fundraising and expenditure. Miller’s campaign reported expenditures exceeding $115,000, with contributions totaling $138,500. Remarkably, a substantial majority of Miller’s contributions, equivalent to 97.5% of his campaign funds, originated from a single address in Washington County.
The address in question, 6249 Gilbert Industrial Ct., Hurricane, contributed a staggering $135,000 through six distinct entities associated with the location. These contributions included $25,000 each from the Gilbert Development Corporation, Steve Gilbert, SLG Utah LLC, Utah Iron LLC, and Gilbert Iron LLC, totaling $125,000. Furthermore, Miller received a $10,000 contribution from Crusher Rental and Sales, a company sharing the same address as the other significant donors.
Notably, Steve Gilbert played a central role in several of these entities, serving as the registered agent for SLG Utah LLC and listed as the CEO of Gilbert Development Corporation. The latter company specializes in engineering, development, and mining operations. Additionally, the Gilbert Development Corporation shares a location with Crusher Rental and Sales, where Steve Gilbert is identified as the CEO, while Cyndi Gilbert serves as the registered agent for both Gilbert Iron LLC and Utah Iron LLC. Utah Iron LLC operates as a mining company, having made a $50,000 contribution to Maile Wilson Edwards’ unsuccessful re-election campaign for Cedar City Mayor.
The remaining $3,500 in contributions received by Miller primarily originated from individuals, including $50 from Miller himself and $200 from Cedar City council member R. Scott Phillips.