Money starts flowing into the SLC mayor’s race

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jul 01, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — Money is starting to flow into the high-profile mayor’s race, with some candidates reporting well over $100,000 in contributions.

This could be one of the most expensive races in Salt Lake City history, with some political observers saying it could cost over $1 million. There are eight candidates in the race.

According to numbers posted by the Salt Lake City Recorder’s Office for the July fundraising period, businessman David Ibarra, who is running his first-ever campaign, led the pack in campaign contributions. The Ibarra camp reported $159,087 in donations.

Ibarra has continually led the fundraising race, reporting about $235,000 in donations back in February. For this latest period, Ibarra reported donations from all over the country (including $10,000 he gave to himself.) He’s spent $226,000 so far.

“I have no name ID, I’m not a career politician, so I had to start at zero. We had to work hard and nobody is going to outwork me,” Ibarra said Monday night. “There’s a good majority of folks I talk to, who feel like we’ve had career politicians running our city in the past and it’s time to have a change.”

Jim Dabakis was close behind with $152,317 in contributions. The biggest donor was himself — the former state senator contributed $30,000 to his own campaign. He’d spent roughly $83,000.

“Our mayoral campaign is proudly frugal, as I will be with taxpayers’ money,” Dabakis said in a statement. “Our campaign will remain competitive in fundraising, despite turning back thousands of dollars from lobbyists and people who do business with the city.”

Sen. Luz Escamilla reported raising $139,648 in campaign contributions. She received donations from some big names, including Zions Bank president Scott Anderson; developer Kem Gardner; former Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck; a number of current members of the Utah State Legislature; and Betty Iverson, the wife of Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

Her campaign spent $93,000 so far.

“We got into this race later than most of the candidates and, unlike a few of my wealthy opponents, I am not self-funded,” Escamilla said in a statement released through her campaign. “Ours is a grassroots campaign focused on solutions for our city, and I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made. We met our fundraising goal for this period and our campaign is connecting and resonating with voters.”

David Garbett reported raising $132,132 this period adding to his already sizable campaign war chest (he reported $111,184 in February), with some contributions coming from members of the Garbett family and Garbett homes.

Salt Lake City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall reported $92,615 in contributions. Big name donors included some labor unions as well was Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller (who also donated to Dabakis). Mendenhall’s campaign reported spending a little over $48,000 on the race so far.

Former city councilman Stan Penfold reported $51,282 in donations this period, including contributions from philanthropist Bruce Bastian and Congressman Ben McAdams. He had spent $42,000 so far this period.

“We are seeing incredible momentum in our grassroots campaign – one powered by conversations at the door, on the street, and at the neighborhood coffee shop,” his campaign said in a statement. “Stan’s clear, calm, and informed participation in mayoral debates and forums has attracted a lot of interest, as has his ‘Stan Plan’ to clean our air, increase access to transportation and technology, reduce homelessness, and build stronger neighborhoods.”

Rainer Huck gave himself $10,000 and had spent about $1,000 so far. That was the only contribution to his campaign. Richard Goldberger had reported raising $500, spending about $466 of it for the filing fee, a “mini filing party” and taxi fare to get to the City & County Building to declare his candidacy.

The next filing deadline is in August, a few days head of the primary election.