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Campaign spending in local elections reach into tens of thousands

May 15, 2016

Credit Tracy Olson/Flickr

  More than $36,000 in campaign spending was racked up in the Roaring Fork Valley this spring. That was for elections in Basalt, Carbondale and for Aspen Valley Hospital.

Basalt saw the most amount of expenditures, with a total of more than $18,000. A long list of Town Council and mayoral candidates spent most of their money on newspaper ads, flyers and yard signs.

Mayor Jacque Whitsitt tallied the most expenses, coming in at $8,957. She said last week it was probably worth it.

“You really never know if any of the money you spent on advertising and brochures really did it,” she reflected. “But I guess have to assume that it made some difference, and I won.”

Rick Stevens ran against Whitsitt and was the second biggest spender across all local elections, reporting $7,022.

The third candidate to shell out the most was Rudi Scheidt , who ran for the Aspen Valley Hospital board. Scheidt spent nearly $5,000, but ended up at the bottom of the pack — at more than $15 a vote.

Of the two hospital board members who did win a spot on the board, Mindy Nagle has not reported any campaign contributions or spending. There’s one more reporting deadline for that election.

In Carbondale, a campaign to pass an energy tax spent the most money in that local election. The contest also had three open seats on the board of trustees. The energy tax campaign failed, but not without spending more than $3,000 on newspaper ads and Facebook promotion, among other expenditures. Supporters have $45 left in campaign contributions.

Similarly, Basalt Mayor Whitsitt has $1,075 left over. Any remaining donations must be spent, returned to supporters, or donated.