Most Durango City Council candidates have collected donations from prominent businesses in town, while others have stuck with small donations or no donations at all.
Six candidates are running for three open seats on City Council in the April 6 election. They made their first campaign finance filing in mid-March, showing how much money they received, who gave the most and how they spent it.
The filing process maintains transparency, said Amy Phillips, Durango city clerk.
“It allows everyone to know who’s backing them, who’s supporting them,” Phillips said.
Lisa McCorry, a former candidate who ended her campaign March 19, raised the most in monetary donations: $7,727. She had $4,558 left over as of the filing deadline.
Candidates can use their remaining money to cover outstanding expenses; provide donations to nonprofits; contribute to political candidates, excluding City Council candidates; or return the money to their campaign donors, Phillips said.
McCorry plans to pay campaign staff members and donate the remainder of her money to charities that have been chosen by campaign contributors, she said.
Of the six remaining candidates, Melissa Youssef, the only incumbent candidate, received the most donations, $3,515.
She was followed by Frank Lockwood, who received $2,350 in campaign donations; Jessika Buell, $2,155; Seth Furtney, $1,750; and Harrison Wendt, $1,693.
Olivier Bosmans, an international project manager and environmental consultant, chose not to receive any donations, and instead paid about $700 to his own campaign.
“I want to remain completely independent and not owe favors or have a hidden agenda,” Bosmans said.
Several candidates gave to their own campaigns or took out loans to fund their campaigns.
For example, Youssef contributed about $3,906 to her campaign, bringing her total spending money to about $7,421.
Of her 20 donations, Youssef’s top contributors included Allen Harper, CEO of American Heritage Railways, and Amy Hartline, development director with Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, each of whom donated $500.
Other top contributors included Jessie Kileen, co-owner of Grassburger; Christina Rinderle, former Durango mayor; and Michael French, director of La Plata County Economic Development Alliance.
Youssef’s average donation was about $176, the highest average of all the candidates. Furtney came in second with an average donation of $146, followed by Lockwood, $124, Buell, $120, and Wendt, $31.
Wendt, a youth camp coordinator who is running as a workforce candidate, reported the highest number of individual contributions, 38. Furtney, a former engineering contracts manager, received the fewest donations, 12.
Wendt’s top donors included Christina Nelson, a self-employed nanny, who gave $150; John Dalton with the Durango Rec Room Dispensary, who donated $100; and Kurt and Meg Peterson, retirees in Minnesota, who donated $75. Wendt donated $525 to his own campaign.
Furtney’s largest donor, David Peters, a retired engineer, gave $800. Harper and his wife, Carole, donated $250. Rinderle and French both contributed $100. Furtney gave $4,000 to his campaign.
Former attorney Lockwood received 19 contributions. The largest, $400, came from Heather Albright, a paralegal with Heliae Development. Former Mayor Dick White and his wife, Faye Schrater, gave $350; while current Mayor Dean Brookie gave $100. Lockwood also took out $7,500 in loans to pay for his campaign.
Buell, a local business owner, received 18 contributions, the highest of which, $500, came from the Strater Hotel CEO Rod Barker. Smaller donations were made by French, $200; Rinderle, $200; and Brookie, $100. District Attorney Christian Champaign contributed $100.
All of the candidates spent most of their money on advertisements, such as yard signs, postcards or digital advertisements. All, except Bosmans, had money on hand to continue with their campaigns after the last filing.