Cha-ching! Big money supports sheriff race |

Cha-ching! Big money supports sheriff race

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Out in front of Eddie Bears.

SUMMIT COUNTY – As of last week, Mike Phibbs’ campaign donations in his bid for Summit County Sheriff totaled nearly $20,000.”That’s a pretty good figure,” said Republican Party Chairperson Marty Ferris. “It means there’s support for a candidate, but the number of contributions is also significant.” Phibbs’ total as of July 20 – when all primary candidates were required to report finances by the Fair Campaign Practices Act – was $19,813.73.A large portion of Phibbs’ campaign stash comes from three $5,000 contributions from out-of-county donors.Sixteen people donated to Phibbs’ campaign so far, plus one nonmonetary contribution worth $774.15. The Republican candidate spent $9,017.34 on his campaign since January.

His opponent, John Minor, the sitting sheriff, raised $7,695.00 with 67 individual contributions, plus added to his campaign coffers with a $5,000 personal loan. Non-monetary contributions equaled $532.57.Minor spent $5,051.07 so far, including one loan payment of $136.59.Both Phibbs and Minor are Republicans running for the sheriff’s nomination in the Aug. 10 primary election. The winner is not likely to be challenged in November.Sandy Briggs, chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party, said Phibbs’ campaign donations are unusual in their amount and origin.”If you look at other candidates for county commissioner or other offices, you’ll find a few contributions from the Front Range but certainly nothing from out-of-state in that amount,” Briggs said. “Five thousand dollars is a large amount by any stretch of the imagination. You can’t do that at state- and national-level races. We don’t want a bunch of rich people determining who our county officials are.”

Phibbs’ contributions are legal. The money came from “lifelong” friends who want to support him, he said.But Briggs questioned whether Phibbs had local support with three-quarters of the money coming from afar.”It’s interesting that this is a county race – our friends and neighbors – and if you don’t get your friends and neighbors to support you, then why are you running?” Briggs asked.In defending his local support, Phibbs said, “I didn’t solicit any money from local friends and neighbors. I never asked for money; it was money given to me and I accepted it. That doesn’t say I don’t have great local support, I just didn’t hit them up for money.”In another race, Bill Wallace, incumbent in the bid for the Democratic nomination for the District 2 Summit County Commissioner seat, raised $5,920 from 41 individual contributions since January. He has spent $2,590.85 on his campaign.

Wallace is up against fellow Democrat Barb Crandall Aug. 10. The winner will face Green Party member Tom Castrigno in November.Crandall raised $100 from one donor as of July 15.”I’m doing this grass-roots thing,” Crandall said of the minimal fundraising results. “I will have contributions but they won’t show up until the end of the campaign.”The next filing is due Friday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m.Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at

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