As the 2012 primary election cycle begins to wind down, the bills are adding up for candidates for Montezuma County commissioner and 22nd Judicial District attorney.
With just 10 days left before the primary election, and mail-in ballots already in the hands of county voters, nearly $27,500 has been spent by local candidates vying to win their primary race.
Through a combination of campaign contributions and individually funded campaigns, local candidates have blanketed Montezuma County with campaign paraphernalia of all shapes, color and size. And for every yard sign, bumper sticker and mass mailing, funds are being spent to try to secure political office.
According to campaign expense reports filed with the Secretary of States office, in the District 2 county commissioner race, Keenan Ertel has spent $8,379.38, Pat DeGagne-Rule has spent $2,420.48, and Bud Garner has spent $2,904.44. In the District 3 race, Dewayne Findley has spent $710.18 and Casey McClellan has spent $1,352.17.
In the race for 22nd Judicial District attorney, incumbent Russell Wasley has spent $7,782.71 and Will Furse has spent $3,936.13.
Though some candidates have utilized the pockets of supporters to pad their campaign coffers, others have relied solely on their own resources to finance their campaigns.
District 3 candidate Casey McClellan and District 2 candidate Bud Garner are self-financed, choosing not to reach out for donations from supporters.
My motto is liberty first, last and always and it might seem like a minor consideration, but the idea is dont bother me, and Ive tried to translate that into my personal life, Garner said. Plus, I dont like turning people in to the government for a $20 donation.
McClellan said he chose to self finance because he feels the bigger call for donations will come during the general election.
It doesnt seem like a great expense to get to the primary, McClellan said. Ive had a lot of people who have volunteered to contribute, but Ive asked them to hold off until after the primary.
While the other candidates have accepted contributions from individual supporters, each has also made substantial contributions to his or her own campaign committee.
Of the $10,700 reported raised by Ertels committee, $10,200 came from the candidate himself. DeGagne-Rule has personally contributed $2,000 of the $2,850 raised by her committee. Findleys campaign committee has reported contributions of $1,200, $1,000 of which came from the candidate.
In the DAs race, incumbent Wasley has contributed $6,489.35 of the $8,520 raised by his committee. Furses campaign committee is the only committee in the county that has seen more contributions from supporters than the candidate, with Furse contributing $947.75 of the $4,267.75 raised.
In terms of spending campaign funds, all of the candidates seem to have the same philosophy: exposure, exposure, exposure. And exposure, for better or worse, means the ubiquitous election year yard signs.
It has all been about trying to get my name out there, Ertel said. My spending has been mostly on printed advertising and signage and newspaper notification.
Garner agreed, noting he tried to maximize exposure while minimizing cost.
I cant spend what I dont have, he said. Ive tried to put (yard signs) in strategic places. I have no clue what works, but I try what I try within the budget.
McClellan also said the majority of his expenses have come from advertising.
Yard signs, flyers and business cards are where the money went, McClellan said. Yard signs were at the top of the list.
McClellans opponent, Findley, tried to avoid a war of the signs, and purchased a limited number of yard signs, only 100, hoping to play off current name recognition.
I wasnt struggling with name recognition as much as some of the unknown candidates were, Findley said. My priority was yard signs but I didnt purchase that many.
Findley also said he isnt sure how much advertising impacts primary elections.
I think most people have their minds made up and anything you do at this point in time is just throwing good money after bad, he said.
In the DA race, both Wasley and Furse said their focus was on advertising with signage and newspaper advertisements making up the majority of their respective budgets.
For my campaign, the largest areas of campaign spending have been for newspaper advertisements and signs, Wasley said in an email.
I took a Cold War mentality with the yard signs, Furse said. Everyone needs to arm themselves and I saw it as unavoidable.
District 2 candidate Pat DeGagne-Rule could not be reached for comment.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected].