LAYTON -- Growing up in Salt Lake City, Rusty Cannon observed the political power gradually shifting there from a Republican stronghold to an area where Democrats have gained an advantage.
Cannon, chairman of the Davis County Republican Party, doesn't want a similar shift in Davis County.
That's why the recently elected party leader is seeking donations in an effort to recruit unaffiliated county voters to the Republican side.
"Times change. Demographics change. It might not always be the Republican stronghold it is now," Cannon said of Davis County, where not a single Democrat holds a partisan office.
The last Democrat elected in Davis County was former County Commissioner J. Dell Holbrook. That was back in 1990.
To maintain such tight GOP control, Cannon, a North Salt Lake self-employed investment adviser, is kicking off a fundraising effort.
He is asking party members to support their local GOP by donating $12 a month for 12 months, or $144 a year, for the 2012 campaign.
Donations will be used to support Republicans running in the 2012 November general election; to market spring 2012 GOP caucus meetings in an effort to increase attendance; and to target the many unaffiliated voters in the county and encourage them to register Republican.
"I hope it takes off," Cannon said. He hopes donations will come from all those who support the Republican Party platform.
"In Davis County, there are nearly as many unaffiliated party members as there are registered Republicans," Cannon said. "There are roughly 76,000 Republicans in the county, and 74,000 unaffiliated party voters."
Cannon said he recognizes he won't be able to get all 76,000 registered Republicans to make a monthly $12 donation, but he believes the dollar amount is manageable in light of the economy.
If he can get 1,000 GOP members to donate $144 each over the course of the year, it would generate $144,000 for the party, surpassing the $30,000 to $50,000 the party generally receives in donations during a campaign cycle, Cannon said.
"I will be calling a lot of people personally," he said.
Craig Foster, who served as Davis GOP chairman from 2001 to 2003 and remains involved in party leadership as the District 14 legislative chairman in Clearfield, said, "I think (the campaign) is extremely ambitious."
He said he doesn't know if Cannon can accomplish his goal of raising $144,000 for the party, but said Cannon is a "hands-on" leader who has already contacted party leadership to encourage them to join the effort.
Regarding Cannon's concern over the high number of voters in the county who are not affiliated with a political party, Foster said, based on his experience as a former county GOP leader, "that tends to be Davis County."
Cannon was elected county GOP chairman by party membership at the party's April 22 convention. He replaced Shirley Bouwhuis, of Layton.