OREM — Utah County finance reports are in, and it's no surprise the cost of campaigning is highest in Provo.
The two highly publicized candidates, incumbent Lewis Billings and challenger Dave Bailey, have each spent more than $45,000 — and there's still a week of campaigning left.
Per state election law, each candidate is required to file a financial disclosure statement with their city outlining how much money they've raised and spent, along with who gave it, and where it went.
A campaign finance report from Billings shows he raised almost $64,000, along with almost $9,800 from donations "in-kind" or by service. However, he's only spent $46,188, leaving him almost $18,300 to spend over the next week.
Some of that money went toward a large mailer that showed up in Provo mailboxes Wednesday. The flyer contains pictures and endorsements from Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., Utah Senate President John Valentine and Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn, among others. Postage and mailing expenses alone have cost Billings almost $13,000, according to the campaign finance documents.
Some of Billing's biggest donations came from Hal and Brigitte Wing of Springville, the owners of Wing Enterprises, makers of The Little Giant Ladder, who gave $10,000. Nu Skin and management gave almost $7,000.
The campaign will continue with daily fund-raising, gladly accepting any new donations as they come, said Linda P. Walton, Billings campaign spokeswoman.
She said they feel comfortable with the money they've raised and will continue to focus on issue-based advertising.
Provo residents also received a competing color mailer from Bailey on Wednesday — a postcard-size ad which showed the candidate standing with the Provo Firefighters Association and the Provo Police Association. Bailey has spent almost $12,500 on direct mail advertising
With only $3,000 left in the Bailey campaign coffers, campaign manager Mary Bailey, the candidate's wife, said she thinks they're done with intense advertising.
She added, however, she still expects more donations to flow in and wouldn't be surprised if it totaled as much as $6,000. The biggest donation to the Bailey campaign was $13,000 from the Provo Firefighters — an association comprising many individuals, Mary Bailey said. Dave Bailey is a retired Provo firefighter.
While Provo's campaign spending has skyrocketed, it's a different scenario in other Utah Valley cities.
"I hope we are the exception to the rule," Mary Bailey said. "I would encourage those that are planning on running for an office to be sensible."
Mary Bailey said she believed their campaign has been just that. She estimated they put up 2,000 lawn signs, 50 large signs and as many as 100,000 flyers.
"I feel very comfortable in what we did and how we did it," she said. "We didn't have a paid staff, they were all just volunteers — people looking for a change."
Reports filed with other Utah County cities were substantially less than the daunting dollar levels found in Provo.
In Orem, Dean Dickerson, an incumbent seeking re-election to the City Council, won the "big spender" award, shelling out almost $2,700 for flyers, signs and printing costs.
He said he was shocked he spent the most, and said he probably spent less this year than when he ran for city council four years ago.
This time, Dickerson purchased one billboard ad, several newspaper inserts, almost 250 signs, and close to 10,000 flyers. He said he also reused some of the signs from his last campaign.
"The biggest thing I've always pushed for is to be accessible," he said. "I've really really pushed that this time and to do that you've got to have your name out there, and that's reflected in the costs."
Dickerson also included the $300 he spent on gas driving around the city to post signs in his campaign expenses. No other Orem candidate itemized gas as an expenditure.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was council candidate Kelvin Clayton, who has spent only $35 on his campaign — and that was the city-required filing cost.
"My feeling is, if I'm going to be a representative of the citizens of Orem, I think I should be very conscientious of the money that's being expended," he said. "We shouldn't be spending money unnecessarily."
Clayton said he also wanted to remain impartial and not accept donations from groups or companies that might try to sway his opinions.
Because he hasn't posted any signs or put up any billboards, Clayton is relying on word of mouth to spread the message.
The two Orem mayoral candidates have spent less than $1,500 combined on their campaigns. Incumbent Jerry Washburn has spent almost $600 on brochures, newspaper ads and lawn signs, with no listed donations.
Competitor David Workman listed a dozen or so small contributions ranging from $9 to $100, and has spent close to $820 on envelopes, postage, printing supplies and yard signs.
In Springville, incumbent mayor Gene R. Mangum raised $4,863. Most donations are in the hundreds, except for $1,000 from Wing Enterprises.
His challenger, Christine M. Tolman, has received $3,000 in contributions. That's almost $600 less than what City Council candidate Mark William Packard has spent on his campaign — $3,577. Packard's largest contributor was Excel Graphics in Provo, at $1,150.
In Spanish Fork, mayoral candidate Sherman E. Huff raised most of his campaign money after the primary election, including a $200 donation from Dale R. Barney, the current mayor, who is not seeking re-election. In all, his campaign expenses have totaled $2,347.
Joe Thomas, the other Spanish Fork mayoral candidate, spent $3,046 by the primary and an additional $143 by the end of October, according to campaign financial reports.
In Mapleton, Stan Sorensen, who is challenging Mayor Dean Allan, has spent $997, with no listed campaign contributions. Allan has raised $2,500. As of Tuesday he had spent $1,038. Sorensen did not list anyone as a contributor to his campaign.
In the northern part of the county, money could play a role in the race for Lehi mayor, where candidates reported a huge discrepancy in funds. Incumbent mayor Kenneth J. Greenwood, bolstered by an $8,150 contribution from a citizens' political action committee, reported a total of $11,350 in contributions, of which he has spent $4,992 as of Oct. 25.
Challenger Howard Johnson reported $850 in contributions, and nearly all of that has been spent (he had $11.48 remaining). More than a third of his contributions, $300, came from his own pocket.
The situation is reversed in the City Council race. Challengers Craig Laurence, at $1,130, and Gordon Miner, at $900, have outspent incumbents Stephen Holbrook and Johnny L. Barnes who have spent $809 and $657 respectively.
Contributing: Laura Hancock, Jeremy Twitchell, Tad Walch