DeClark leads pack in candidate fundraising | VailDaily.com

DeClark leads pack in candidate fundraising

Tamara Miller

County commissioner candidate Richard DeClark is blazing the path in campaign contributions, having raised more than $14,000 already this election season.DeClark’s opponent in the race, Peter Runyon, is second in campaign contributions among the field of candidates for two open seats on the board. He has raised $5,603 so far. DeClark, a Republican, and Runyon, a Democrat, are vying for the seat representing Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. Commissioner Michael Gallagher holds that seat now, but has opted not to run again.Candidates filed their first fundraising reports Tuesday. Commissioner Arn Menconi, the Democratic candidate seeking re-election for the seat representing parts of Avon, Edwards and Eagle, has brought in $3,973 in donations. His Republican opponent, A.J. Johnson, has raised $3,625 for his campaign. Unaffiliated candidate Buz Reynolds, Jr. has not accepted any donations for his campaign yet. Runyon said he hopes to obtain grassroots support for his candidacy. “I don’t have a lot of personal wealth to invest on this, so I have to rely on the generosity of others,” he said. “I truly believe my issues will appeal to the full range of the county.” Runyon said he’s been told it’s normal to spend anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 for the county commissioner campaign and he expects to stay in that range.DeClark credits much of his fundraising success to his campaign treasurer, Gerald Gallegos. He doesn’t have a particular monetary goal to achieve, he said. His fundraising technique?”How I’m raising funds is mainly just ‘the ask,'” he said.While name recognition may be a little bit easier to obtain in a county of only 40,000, he said the population is spread out enough to make some advertising efforts necessary.”I think I’ve been pretty fortunate that so many generous people are supporting me,” he said. Expenditures show a gap between the candidates, as well. DeClark has spent around $13,817 so far in his campaign, the largest expenditures going toward printing campaign materials and newspaper advertising. Runyon has spent $1,455, with the largest expenses being for T-shirts and food for his campaign announcement dinner at the Mustang Bar & Grill. Johnson has spent only about $800 of his campaign funds, also on campaign literature and T-shirts. Menconi and Reynolds reported no expenditures yet.Reynolds said he wants to try to fund this campaign on his own.”I’m trying to go after this job as a person to represent everybody in Eagle County,” he said. “I don’t want to have one group or one particular party that I’m indebted to.”I’m really trying to make this more of a campaign that people will need to talk to me and I will need to talk to them.”While he hasn’t spent anything yet, Reynolds said he does plan to prepare and purchase campaign flyers and signs.Name recognition and letting voters know how a candidate stands on the issues is important in any race, Menconi said. Fundraising this time around has been easier than when he ran in 2000.”People know me,” he said. “It’s been easier. They support my work and my experience and my vision.”Menconi said he has met with people he has worked with in the past for campaign help. Others have voluntarily contributed to his campaign because they support the work he has done on the county commission so far, he said. Based on past county commissioner campaigns, Menconi said he expects most candidates to raise between $15,000 and $30,000 for the race. Fundraising records show that DeClark has contributed to his own campaign. His largest outside contribution was a $2,500 check from local resident Suzanne Gallegos. Menconi and Runyon each received $1,000 from Pat McConathy. Menconi also has received $1,000 from George Wiegers and $100 from Jay Fletcher, the Democratic candidate running against Republican Colorado Sen. Jack Taylor.Nottingham Ranch Company contributed $500 toward Johnson’s campaign. Johnson also has received $250 checks from local rancher George Jouflas and Vail businessman William Jewitt. Attempts to reach Johnson for comment were unsuccessful.

The Tally:District 1:Richard DeClark, Republican: $14,080 in contributions; $13,817 in expendituresPeter Runyon, Democrat: $5,603 in contributions; $1,455 in expendituresDistrict 2:A.J. Johnson, Republican: $3,625 in contributions; $816 in expendituresArn Menconi, Democrat: $3,973 in contributions; no expenditures reportedBuz Reynolds, independent: Not accepting contributions; no expenditures reported.Next filing deadline: Aug. 6

Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at tmiller@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555, ext. 607.