Ogden mayor's race: Caldwell raises 10 times more than Stephenson

Oct 6 2011 - 11:15pm

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OGDEN -- Mayoral candidate Mike Caldwell raised about 10 times more in campaign funds than opponent City Councilman Brandon Stephenson during a recent 26-day reporting period, according to finance reports.

The reports filed this week with the Ogden City Recorder's Office cover campaign contributions and expenditures from Sept. 4 through Sept. 30.

During that time, the report indicates, Caldwell raised $19,650 from more than 50 individual donors.

Among his largest donors are Bryan Smith, of Eden, who gave a $2,250 in-kind donation by providing web design services, and Chris Ford, of Ogden, who contributed $2,000.

Ford, the owner of Christopher Productions LLC, a South Ogden video production firm, said he first became impressed with Caldwell's work in leading the GOAL Foundation, a local nonprofit organization founded shortly after the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

"He (Caldwell) is just a good manager and allows people to do the best job they can without a lot of oversight," Ford said. "He is a team builder."

Caldwell also received several $1,000 contributions.

Caldwell said in an email to the Standard-Examiner he is pleased with the level of donations.

"I am humbled by the continued outpouring of support. Our message of making Ogden a place to live, work and play is being supported by people all over Ogden. This is truly a community-driven campaign."

Caldwell carried forward contributions of $25,211 from the first reporting period and spent $26,160 in the second period, leaving about $18,700 cash on hand, according to his report.

Much of Caldwell's expenditures were for campaign signs, printing, persuasion calls to voters and Internet and social-media marketing services.

Stephenson raised $1,890 from six donors during the reporting period.

American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, a nonprofit organization that protects the rights of motorcyclists, gave $1,000, Stephenson's largest donation.

Stephenson carried forward $2,791 in contributions and spent $2,611 in the second period, leaving a balance of roughly $2,070 in his campaign war chest. He spent funds during the second period on campaign signs, mailers and a telephone poll.

Stephenson could not be reached for comment.

Campaign contributions for mayoral write-in candidate Patrick Conlin totaled $100 of his own money. He spent $46.20 for candidate filing fees and checks.

Conlin could not be reached for comment.

Incumbent At-Large Seat C Councilwoman Amy L. Wicks raised $200 during the reporting period and carried over $209 from the previous period. Her lone donor during the recent reporting period was Allan Lipman, of Ogden.

Wicks had no expenditures during the reporting period, according to her report.

Wicks said she saved money by using signs from her 2007 re-election campaign and has not aggressively sought funds from donors.

Stephen D. Thompson, Wicks' opponent, raised $1,959 during the reporting period, had about $97 in carry-over funds and spent $1,860.

Ted Van Meeteran, of Ogden, gave $1,000 and is Thompson's largest donor.

Thompson's lone expenditure during the reporting period was for campaign signs.

Thompson said he needs $3,300 to accomplish his campaign goal. "I'm hopeful that donations will come in."

Rick Safsten, a former council member who is write-in candidate for At-Large Seat C, raised $3,050 and spent $44.50. Kent Petersen and the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors each contributed $1,500.

Petersen said Safsten should be elected because of his previous experience on the council.

"He is a consensus builder. He's a good decision maker and researches the topics."

The bulk of Safsten's expenditures was for postage stamps.

Safsten said he is pleased with his contributions. "I'm glad to have the support, obviously."

He said his contributions were raised in less than two weeks. "A write-in campaign is short, but we're going to make it as intense as we can."

In the 2nd Ward city council race, Richard A. Hyer raised $100 during the reporting period but did not list who the donation was from. He spent $1,969 and has a deficit in his campaign account of about $2,113.

Most of Hyer's expenditures during the second reporting period were for campaign signs.

Hyer said he is getting more contributions and hopes to break even by the end of the race.

"I didn't expect to have the campaign financed by others. I expected to have skin in the game."

Hyer's opponent, Jennifer Neil, raised $175 during the reporting period, with $100 coming from Carolyn Bennion, of Ogden. She had no expenditures in the reporting period and carried over about $88. Neil said she raised about $400 in contributions in the last week.

"I'm just short of what I wanted to get," she said.

The city's general election is Nov. 8.

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