Originally Published: August 29, 2016 6:02 a.m.
Not all contributions or expenditures for the candidates in Tuesday’s primary election have been tallied – they have until Sept. 29 to complete their primary campaign finance report. However, they have filed their campaign finance reports through Aug. 18 with the Yavapai County Elections Department.
The big spender in county elections so far looks to be Judd Simmons, candidate for the Assessor’s Office, with $129,673 collected in donations, which includes $4,678 in in-kind contributions. Expenditures total $118,619, which leaves just over $11,000 in his coffers.
Simmons appeared to have ranching, real estate, legal, and medical professions backing his campaign.
Incumbent Pamela Pearsall’s campaign is costing somewhat less – more than $100,000 less, in fact. Contributions to Pearsall’s campaign through Aug. 18 totals $22,744, with overall smaller individual donations by business owners and retirees. Many contributors for both candidates listed “retired” as their occupation, without further information.
Here’s how the campaign contributions stack up:
Fain family members with Fain Signature Group contributed a total of $12,000. The development company consists of residential, commercial and industrial businesses or projects, as well as a 140-year history of ranching.
An article about what campaign money buys, and an overview of finance reports for the Board of Supervisors races.
Developer Jason Gisi, CEO of Eco Development LLC, gave $2,500 to Simmons’ campaign. Eco Development owns about 15,000 acres in central Yavapai County, including Granite Dells and Point of Rocks ranches, and Glassford Heights Development. Homebuilding companies Aspen Valley Homes and Mandalay Homes each gave $2,500.
At least nine ranchers contributed to Simmons’ campaign. They include Peter Groseta of Groseta Ranches, $2,500; Shelley Blackmore, $2,000; Swayze McCraine, 7 Up Ranch, $2,500; Chad Smith, manager of ORO Ranch, $5,000; Eugene Polk, Spider and Cross U ranches, $2,500; Vicki Wilkinson, Chino Valley rancher, $1,000; Fred Ruskin, Yavapai Ranch, $2,500; Carole Kenson, Barney York Ranch, $1,500; and John Kieckhefer, K4 Ranch, $2,500.
Other major contributors include Dane Beck, manager of KIBO, Inc., a consulting company, who gave $2,500; Margaret Perkins, Yavapai Cowbelles, $1,000; Ron James with Harold James Family Trust, $2,000; Vivian Campbell, Seligman postmaster, $1,000.
Several out-of-state contributors include Robert Swanson from London, owner of Amicus & AED, who gave $5,000; Anna Irwin of Connecticut, $1,500; and Larry Droppa of Maryland, $2,500. Rex Maughan, CEO of Forever Living Products in Scottsdale, gave $2,500.
Two Realtors with Yavapai Hills Real Estate gave $1,000 each; Phoenix appraiser James Webb gave $1,000; other real estate companies contributed lesser amounts.
Physicians and dental hygienists gave smaller amounts of $100-$500, with Frederick Fenderson giving $1,000; and Dr. Paul Hicks, $1,500.
Other local notables: Karen Fann gave $250, Jason Fann gave $1,000, and Michael Fann gave $2,500; Prescott City Council member Billie Orr gave $250 and also $325 in-kind value in food and items for an event; and Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Tom Thurman gave $25.
In-kind contributors for items and services include attorneys Ethan Wolfinger $600, and Tom Kack $600; Jan Simmons with $1,523 in-kind with total contributions of $7,047; David Hess with $482 in-kind for a total of $1,982; and Pam Jones with $25 in-kind for a total of $1,525.
Loans and expenses claimed by Simmons as of Aug. 18 totals $5,499.
Pearsall’s four largest contributors include software developer Andrew Denis with $2,500; Paul Levie, Levie Water Company, $1,500; David Stringer, motel owner and candidate for District 1 State Representative, $1,000; and retiree Redick Bryan III gave $1,000.
Notable contributors include Catherine Curtis, who works as an appraiser in the County Assessor’s Office, $350; Chino Valley Mayor Chris Marley, $100; Abia Judd Elementary School Principal Clark Tenney, $75; and District 1 State Rep. Noel Campbell, $500.
Pearsall has $2,936 remaining at the close of this reporting period; Simmons has $11,053.
How did Simmons manage to gather nearly $130,000 for his campaign? He said running a successful campaign in a county the size of New Jersey requires money for effective advertising. He is running on the message of restoring confidence to the Office of Assessor, which he said has resonated with the voters.
“It has produced an overwhelming outpouring of volunteers, endorsements and contributions for my campaign. People from all backgrounds have given to my campaign including retirees, small business owners, ranchers, doctors and builders,” Simmons stated Sunday in an email, adding that donations from the legal community have come “out of respect for my late father.”
Pearsall is in Florida where she will accept, on behalf of the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office, a Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration award from the International Association of Assessing Officers.
“For eight years, I’ve done no special favors. I’ve never catered to special interests. I was elected to make sure every taxpayer in Yavapai County pays their fair share and no more. That’s what I’ve done,” Pearsall stated in an email Sunday.
“By contrast, Mr. Simmons has taken tens of thousands of dollars from wealthy developers and the county’s biggest landowners. Clearly, he owes them big time,” she said, adding that any breaks would hurt other taxpayers. “I hope voters understand the degree to which my opponent is trying to buy this office. And I hope they vote for fairness over favors.”