Rob Davis wanted to be sheriff so much he ran what veteran political observers believe is the most expensive Davis County campaign ever for a political office this year.

Davis, a patrol sergeant in the sheriff's office, spent $32,389 on his campaign to unseat his boss, incumbent Sheriff Glenn Clary. Clary spent $16,997 against Davis before losing in the June GOP primary, then another $5,884 in his unsuccessful write-in campaign in the fall.Both candidates, according to financial disclosure papers filed last week with the county clerk, lent their campaigns some of their own money in addition to taking donations. Davis lent his campaign $12,739 and Clary reported putting $3,000 into his primary campaign and another $5,500 of his own money in the write-in effort.

For every $1 that Clary spent, Davis countered with $1.40. Most of the funds, according to the spending statements, went for advertising in the form of lawn signs, newspaper and radio ads, T-shirts, and brochures.

The two sheriff's candidates dwarfed the spending done by candidates for the two County Commission seats.

Incumbent Democrat J. Dell Holbrook spent $11,146 in his losing effort against GOP challenger Dannie McConkie, who reported spending $11,570. Incumbent Republican Carol Page spent only $3,321, retaining her seat against Libertarian challenger Lynn Jenkins. Jenkins, according to his statement, spent nothing on his campaign.

Several other candidates, either unopposed incumbents or Libertarian challengers, also reported spending nothing on their campaigns other than the required filing fee, ranging between $200 and $300.

Candidates are required to list individual donations of more than $50 and are allowed to lump all donations under $50 into a single category. Holbrook, however, chose to list every contribution he received, including one for $1.

The contributor list makes for interesting reading, as do some of the expenditures the candidates chose to make from their donations.

The largest individual donation listed by a candidate is $3,500 given to the Davis campaign by Mike and Tammy Tullis, a Bountiful couple; it was followed by a $3,000 donation from Brian Weese, a fellow deputy sheriff.

Clary received a $3,000 donation from Shelly Young of Farmington, but most of his donations were in the $150 to $200 range, including $200 from his chief deputy, Kenny Payne, and $100 from one of his captains, Bud Cox.

Davis received $100 from former sheriff Brant Johnson; $50 from Lt. Kelly Sparks, whom Davis last week named as his new chief deputy; and $50 from Tiffany Hess, who will assume the job of Davis' executive secretary.

Davis said the figures he filed are deceptively high because he included in-kind donations from various businesses instead of just straight cash donations, as the law requires.

"I don't think anyone else listed their in-kind donations. But I wanted to be up-front about it and disclose everything. If you subtract the in-kind donations, it puts the figure down around $26,000, which is a little more in line with what Clary spent," said Davis. "I think if Clary added his in-kind donations, we'd be about even."

As for what he spent, Davis is not defensive about it.

"We spent what we felt we had to, what we needed to to get the job done," said Davis. "A big part of it, at first, was name recognition. We hired an advertising firm and spent a proportionately large amount on a billboard and radio advertising to gain name recognition," Davis said.

Davis said the nature of campaigns in the county is changing, requiring new methods that are more expensive than the traditional ways of reaching voters.

"Clary relied heavily on lawn signs. He probably doubled me in that category," said Davis. "But I don't think they are as effective any more. I think you need other ways, like newspaper and radio advertising, to get to the voters."

As for the $12,000 he lent his campaign, Davis said he expects to get it back shortly. Several of his supporters have proposed holding fund-raisers, Davis said, but they will probably hold off until after the holiday season.

McConkie, a UDOT manager who has long been active as a board member and lobbyist for the Utah Public Employees Association, received a $4,300 loan from UPEA for his campaign, along with $2,000 from the Davis County Republican Party.

Unions (or quasi-unions like the UPEA) traditionally support Democratic candidates, but in this case, McConkie's $4,300 loan from the UPEA dwarfed the organized labor support received by Holbrook. Holbrook picked up $300 from the AFL/CIO and $200 from the pipefitters union.

He also got $500 from the Democratic National committee, $300 from the Utah State Democratic Party and $150 from Todd Taylor, state party chairman. His largest donation was $1,000 from Marie Holbrook in Bountiful and his smallest was a single dollar. Also among his contributors was Gayle Stevenson, his fellow commissioner and a former GOP primary opponent of McConkie.

Among other county candidates, Margene Isom collected $625 and spent $2,512 in her bid for re-election as county clerk/auditor. Her opponent, Democrat Pat Herrera, collected $2,823 and spent $3,146.

Among Herrera's contributors was the AFL/CIO, $700; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, based in Washington, D.C., $500; $360 from the state party coffers; and $305 from a fund-raiser for Hispanic candidates held in Salt Lake City.

Republican Mark Altom, challenged by Libertarian Glenn Hunt, raised $2,350 and spent $1,907 on his campaign. Regulations on how a candidate can spend the funds received from donors are lax.

Altom reported in his disclosure statement that he used campaign funds to buy a suit ($211.19), a tie and belt ($13.78) and pair of shoes ($99.09) to attend a meet-the-candidates night. He also paid his kids - Alycia, Todd, Craig, Brian, and Eric - between $2 and $18 each for putting up campaign signs.

Hunt, his opponent, reported spending nothing on his campaign.