Breakdown of St. George finance reports for mayor and city council
With just days away from the municipal primary elections set for Aug. 10, candidates for both the city council and mayoral released their finance reports showing the contributions and expenses for each campaign.
It is a crowded race with 11 candidates still in the running competing for four general election slots — there are 12 names on the ballot, but Matthew Heaton dropped out after the ballots were printed. The mayoral race has four candidates competing for two slots.
In the mayoral race, $39,532.84 was contributed to the four candidates in total but nearly 96% was given to two candidates — Jimmie Hughes and Michele Randall.
More money was raised than spent in this primary campaign with $24,263.62 spent on expenses. Randall both raised, spent and kept the most money out of any candidate, with nearly $15,000 left in her balance.
For the city council race, the 11 candidates collectively raised $56,662.42 and spent $37,542.62, about 62%, on expenses. Current city council member Bryan Smethurst led the way with $15,950 in donations.
The Liberty Action Coalition, a right-wing group, was the only political action committee involved in the St. George elections and donated $500 to one mayoral candidate, Woody Woodbury, and to two city council candidates, $625 to Michelle Tanner and $635 to Greg Aldred.
The group endorsed and held a fundraiser for these three candidates. The group has led multiple anti-mask protests and attempted to write three candidates to the Washington County School Board.
Another notable donor in the city council race is Utah Sen. Don Ipson (R-St. George) who donated $1,000 to the two incumbent council members, Bryan Smethurst and Vardell Curtis.
DL Squared LLC donated money to all the incumbents, Michele Randall, Bryan Smethurst and Vardell Curtis. The Utah Department of Commerce lists city council member Dannielle Larkin as the agent for the company.
A common advertiser used by the candidates was Canyon Media, which owns St. George News and multiple radio stations, with $12,771 worth of advertisements bought by both mayoral and city council candidates.
Ballots for the primary must be post-dated by Aug. 9 to be counted. People can submit their ballots by sending it to the return address on the envelope with the primary ballot or going to one of the six ballot drop locations in Washington County.
These boxes are located at:
- The St. George Library (88 W. 100 S., St. George).
- Hurricane Library (36 S. 300 W., Hurricane).
- Santa Clara Library (1099 Lava Flow Dr., St. George).
- Washington Library (220 N. 300 E., Washington).
- The Washington County administrative building ( 197 East Tabernacle St., St. George).
There will also be two in-person voting locations one at the Dixie Convention Center (1835 S. Convention Center Dr., St. George) and the Hurricane Community Center (63 S. 100 W., Hurricane) from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on election day Aug. 10.
St. George Mayoral candidates
If you want to learn more about these candidates read the guide on the mayoral candidates The Spectrum published in June. This link has the complete finance report pdf.
More on the candidates:2021 Election Guide: Get to know the candidates for mayor of St. George
Total contributions: $26,658.36
Total expenses: $11,828.77
Ending balance: $14,829.59
Randall outraised and outspent every candidate in both St. George primary elections. Of the 20 contributions she received, only four of them were under $1,000. Several businesses donated to her campaign including KBT Investments LLC, KT3 Development LLC, DL Squared LLC, Sierra Vista Stucco and Sunset Pools & Landscaping.
DL Squared LLC which is affiliated with city council member Danielle Larkin donated $1,000 to Randall’s campaign.
Both KBT Investments LLC and KT3 Development LLC each donated $2,500 to Randall. Kason Traveller, the president of K.H. Traveller Custom Homes, is the agent listed on the Department of Commerce’s website for both these companies.
Former St. George mayor Jon Pike also donated $1,000 to her campaign.
Randall’s biggest donor was Bryce Christensen who provided an in-kind contribution — a contribution that covers a service rather than a monetary donation — which covered her biggest expense which was $3,358.36 to Speedy Signs.
Grant ‘Woody’ Woodbury
Total contributions: $750
Total expenses: $1,322.71
Ending balance: – $572.71
Woodbury raised the least amount of money among the mayoral candidates with just $750. The majority of that money, $500, came from the conservative political action committee the Liberty Action Coalition with the other $250 coming from three other donors.
Woodbury is also the only mayoral candidate to end the primary with a negative balance. His single largest expense was $350 which was used on direct mail sent by Valpak of Southern Utah.
Total contributions: $11,275.22
Total expenses: $10,272.32
Ending balance: $1,002.90
Hughes raised the second most of the mayoral candidates and put $3,825.22 of his own money directly into the campaign. His biggest donor was Hughes Mortuary which gave $4,500 — Hughes runs this mortuary along with his wife Tawny.
Hughes spent a majority of his $10,272.32 in expenses on marketing and advertising. With his biggest expense $5,500 going toward Canyon Media.
Total contributions: $849.36
Total expenses: $839.82
Ending balance: $9.54
Tolly completely self-funded his campaign by officially filing $849.36 worth of contributions from himself seven different times.
Tolly kept his list of expenses short, with $100 going toward the application fee, $25 to St. George Chamber of Commerce and the remaining $714.82 toward Steamroller Copies.
St. George City Council candidates
If you want to learn more about these candidates read this guide on the city council candidates that The Spectrum published in June.
More on City Council candidates:2021 Municipal Elections: Get to know the candidates for St. George City Council
Total contributions: $15,950
Total expenses: $10,706.87
Ending balance: $5,243.13
Smethurst, an incumbent, raised the most money out of the city council candidates with $15,950 and received large donations to bolster his numbers — 15 contributors mostly donated $1,000 or more, including a $1,500 donation from the Washington County Board of Realtors whose CEO is Curtis, a fellow council incumbent.
Tech Ridge LLC, the business behind the 180-acre mixed-use development on the site of the former St. George airport, donated $2,000 to Smethurst.
DL Squared LLC which is affiliated with city council member Danielle Larkin donated $100 to Smethurst’s campaign.
Smethurst also received $1,000 from Sen. Don Ipson. The biggest donor for Smethurst is Bryce Christensen who gave $3,000.
His biggest expense was on marketing where he spent $4,000 using Venture Creative, a local marketing company. Smethurst also spent over $3,000 on Steamroller Copies and $1,470 towardCanyon Media and St. George News.
Total contributions: $10,037.72
Total expenses: $4,418.58
Ending Balance: $5,619.14
Curtis raised the second most amount of money and has the largest remaining balance out of all candidates, barely edging out Smethurst, even though he raised almost $6,000 less than Smethurst.
Curtis’ largest donor was himself, putting $1,717.72 of his own money into the campaign.
The Washington County Board of Realtors — where Curtis is the CEO — also contributed $1,500, making it Curtis’ largest donor outside of himself.
Several other businesses involved in real estate contributed to Curtis including Southern Utah Home Builders Association ($1,000), Vantage Real Estate ($500), ERA Brokers Consolidated ($500) and Red Rock Realty ($500).
DL Squared LLC which is affiliated with city council member Danielle Larkin donated $100 to Curtis.
Curtis also received $1,000 from Sen. Ipson.
His largest expense was $1,315.70 on campaign signs from Steamroller Copies, he also spent $1,000 on advertisements to St. George News and Canyon Media.
Total contributions: $2,505
Total expense: $1,657.54
Ending balance: $847.46
Erickson is on the lower end for both money raised and spent during the primary.
He received $400 in anonymous donations in “miscellaneous small donations,” the only candidate to have anonymous contributions.
Two different people — Daren Cottam and Guy Simkins — tied for being Erickson’s largest donor by each giving $300. Erickson also spent $75 of his own money on a banner for the race.
His biggest expense went toward campaign signs which he spent $762.19 on Crazy Cheap Political signs.
Total contributions: $3,015.05
Total expenses: $2,764.16
Ending balance: $250.89
Woodbury self-financed his campaign by donating $3,015 of his own money to the campaign, noting the $0.05 came from interest earned from American First Credit Union.
He was the only city council candidate to fund his campaign entirely by himself.
Most of the money Woodbury spent went toward advertisements; his biggest expense was $1,230.14 on Facebook ads and another $750 went to St. George News.
Total contributions: $3,700.03
Total expenses: $1,789.06
Ending balance: $1,910.97
Winder spent $300 of his own money on the campaign and received $951.56 from different family members.
This isn’t Winder’s nor his family’s first time in politics; he previously was on the Taylorsville city council, his son Mike is currently a representative in the Utah statehouse and his daughter Aimee Winder Newton is on the Salt Lake County Council. She donated the most out of the Winder family by giving $500.
His biggest contributor was Cherokee & Walker, a private equity firm with an office in Salt Lake City, which gave $1,000. Winder’s biggest expense was on campaign signs; he spent $444.08 on Simple Signs. He also spent $375 on Facebook advertisements.
Victoria ‘Tori’ Bush
Total contributions: $255
Total expenses: $292.04
Ending balance: – $37.04
Bush raised and spent the least amount of money out of all the candidates outside of Katheryne Novick who didn’t raise or spend any money. In total, Bush had four contributors give $255, her largest donor was Gary Stone who gave $150.
Bush was the only city council candidate with a negative balance for the primary. She spent her money on two main things, $140 on online ads from Facebook and $127.03 on Steamroller copies.
Total Contributions: $0
Total Expenses: $0
Ending Balance: $0
Novick raised and spent no money, the only candidate to have an empty finance report. She said she is attending massage therapy college during the day and works as a hostess at night while also running a business that focuses on videos, advertisements and portfolios for local companies.
Total contributions: $3,135
Total expenses: $3,132.22
Ending balance: $2.78
Aldred had the smallest positive balance of the candidates with just $2.78 to spare. Aldred got $700 from American Samurai Builders, which was run by Aldred. He describes himself as “semi-retired.”
His largest donation was $1,000 which came from Dabney, Dabney PPLC and another $635 from the Liberty Action Coalition, the largest amount the right-wing group gave to any candidate.
Aldred’s largest expense was $1,280 which he gave to Canyon Media and St. George News, $850 to St. George News and $430 to Canyon Media.
Total contributions: $3,869.62
Total expenses: $1,737.82
Ending balance: $2,131.80
McDonald was on the lower end of candidates for both contributions and expenses. She gave $800 of her own money to the campaign.
The Washington County Democrats contributed to McDonald and gave her $500. She also got $150 from Shireen Ghorbani, a Democrat who ran against Rep. Chris Stewart in the 2018 election for the 2nd district congressional seat. But her biggest donor was Jordan Ferney who gave $1,000.
The biggest expense was on campaign signs from Rainbow Signs where she spent $938.65.
Total contributions: $8,350
Total expenses: $7,674.34
Ending balance: $675.66
Larsen raised the third most amount of money for the city council candidates and spent the second most of these candidates. She donated $1,000 of her own money to the campaign and received $2,200 from three contributors with the last name of Larsen.
The largest donation she received was $1,500 from the Washington County Board of Realtors. Larsen listed herself as a real estate professional in June.
Larsen had several large expenses on signs and advertisements, spending $2,331 on radio advertisements, $1,921 on Canyon Media and $1,260 on Cherry Creek Radio. Her biggest expense was $3,981.34 on campaign signage from Star Sign and Banner.
Total contributions: $5,485
Total expenses: $3,369.99
Ending balance: $2,475.01
Tanner had 30 official contributors, which was the most of any candidate. Most of the contributions were under $500 and came from individuals, one of which is Ron Woodbury, another candidate in the city council race.
Even with several individuals donating to her campaign, Larsen’s largest donor was the right-wing political action committee the Liberty Action Coalition gave $625.
Her largest expense was $1,935.14 which went toward Nathan Emse signs, and her second-largest expense was $850 which went to St. George News.
Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Our work depends on subscribers so if you want more coverage on these issues you can subscribe here http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.