The city's two mayoral candidates combined to make the past municipal election the most expensive in Provo history.

Mayor-elect Lewis K. Billings and his opponent, Councilman Karl J. Thalman, spent $70,369 between them through the primary and general elections.According to financial disclosure statements filed by both candidates, Billings, a real estate investor, spent $36,107 to Thalman's $34,262.

The total easily eclipses the $57,711 Mayor George Stewart and Councilwoman Shari Holweg shelled out in the 1993 mayoral race. Billings' expenditures, however, fall short of Stewart's record $41,804 spent during that election.

City code requires municipal candidates to submit campaign income and spending reports within a month of the Nov. 4 general election. The City Council is contemplating a law making political action committees do the same.

Judging from the amount of money Nu Skin International dealt municipal candidates, the company - or at least its top executives - could be considered a PAC. Five officers in the Provo multilevel marketing firm gave cash to six of the eight candidates in the final election. In some cases, the donations made up a substantial portion of the candidates' fund raising.

Billings' greatest source of income was himself. He put $11,400 of his own money into the race. Except for his own donations, no single contribution to the Billings campaign exceeded $500. Nu Skin executives Blake Roney, Brooke Roney and Steven J. Lund donated a total of $1,500. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, contributed $500.

Conversely, Thalman, a jeweler, didn't infuse any of his own dollars into the campaign, according to his disclosure statement. He received 10 donations of $1,000 each and another for $2,000. Grocery store chain owner Paul Ream's $5,000 was the largest single donation to Thalman. Nu Skin contributed $500.

The mayoral election continues a trend in which the winning candidates outspent the losers. It held true in the three City Council races as well.

Citywide Councilman Greg Hudnall spent $10,374 on his campaign. About 20 percent of Hudnall's funds came from five Nu Skin executives - Blake Roney, Brooke Roney, Sandie N. Tillitson, Keith Halls and Lund.

His opponent, former Councilman Jim Daley, spent $9,242, more than a third of it from his own wallet.

In the Southwest District, Cindy Richards' expenditures totaled $5,601. Like Hudnall, Richards, a Provo planning commissioner, received about 20 percent of her money from the Nu Skin officers, excluding Tillitson. Southwest candidate Russell Phillips raised $2,450 and overspent that amount by $133.

Candidates in the more affluent Northeast District spent less than their counterparts in southwest Provo.

Councilman-elect Paul Warner's campaign cost $3,261. Nu Skin also played a large part in his campaign, with four company officers giving a total of $1,000. Warner's opponent, Keith Sperry, spent $620. Nu Skin executive Halls supplied slightly less than half.


Additional Information

Provo mayoral big spenders

Candidate Amount Year Outcome

George Stewart $41,804 1993 Won

Lewis Billings $36,107 1997 Won

Karl Thalman $34,262 1997 Lost

Joe Jenkins $27,904 1989 Won

Sherm Hislop $18,493 1989 Lost

Shari Holweg $15,907 1993 Lost