Becker dominates campaign fundraising in SLC mayor’s race

Posted at 7:13 PM, Aug 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-10 18:45:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY — New campaign disclosure reports reveal incumbent Mayor Ralph Becker has more than a half-million dollars in his campaign war chest headed into next week’s primary election.

The campaign finance reports posted by the Salt Lake City Recorder’s Office late Tuesday also showed one of his challengers raising a significant amount of cash. Jackie Biskupski raised about $66,000 within the last month, bringing her to nearly $300,000 in contributions.

Here’s how the contributions break down:

The disclosure reports reveal candidate Dave Robinson’s entire $7,311 in-kind contributions over the last month came from Reagan Outdoor Advertising, which has created a political action committee that has been putting up billboards throughout the city for all of the mayoral candidates — with the exception of Becker, who has been outspoken in his opposition to billboards.

A campaign filing by the PAC “Utahns For Independent Government,” which has the same address as Reagan Outdoor Advertising, shows that it has raised $124,495 to put the billboards up. Most of the money comes from Reagan and another billboard company, YESCO. Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is also listed as a donor to the PAC.

The campaign disclosure report insists that it has not put up the billboards at the request of any candidate.

A screen shot of a campaign disclosure report filed by Utahns for Independent Government.

In a statement Tuesday night, the Becker campaign criticized the PAC.

“This is unprecedented.  A single corporate interest spending over one hundred thousand dollars to primarily support and back a single candidate in a municipal.  Salt Lake City voters overwhelmingly rejected this type of money infiltrating our politics in the Move to Amend petition,” Becker campaign spokesman Matt Lyon wrote. “Mayor Becker’s position on campaign finance and billboards is clear, and we encourage voters to research all the candidates’ track records on these important issues and we encourage voters to say no to corporations attempting to buy our elections.”

The Biskupski campaign has insisted it had no knowledge of the billboards, nor was it consulted about them. Luke Garrott has called for his billboards to be taken down, to no avail.

In Salt Lake City’s District Four race (which encompasses a large part of the downtown area), businessman and same-sex marriage plaintiff Derek Kitchen had a sizable fundraising lead over his opponents with more than $21,000 amassed. Salt Lake County Democratic Hispanic Caucus Chairman Nate Salazar had raised nearly $11,000. Real estate broker Babs De Lay is self-funding her entire campaign.

See the breakdown here:

UPDATE 8/10/15: New figures from the Salt Lake City Recorder’s Office show mayoral candidate Luke Garrott had $34,664 in campaign contributions.