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Gabriela Sundquist of Cheyenne contemplates candidates at the VFW Post 1881 polling station while voting on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cheyenne. Wyoming Tribune Eagle/file

CHEYENNE – With the primary election set for next Tuesday, candidates for public office in Cheyenne and Laramie County have made public their campaign expenditures and contributions during the primary election season.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reviewed those documents, which the Laramie County Clerk’s office released late Tuesday, and compiled the highlights for each candidate running for Cheyenne mayor, Cheyenne City Council and the Laramie County Board of Commissioners.

Mayoral candidates

In the race for Cheyenne’s highest office, mayoral candidate Patrick Collins has pulled away from incumbent Mayor Marian Orr and challenger Rick Coppinger, raising $48,203 – the largest amount in any municipal race.

Comparatively, Coppinger raised a total of $7,000, while Orr’s contributions sit at $1,700.

For Collins, $12,850 of his contributions came from himself and his immediate family, but the majority of donations came from 82 individual residents, which totaled $32,000. Collins also received an endorsement from Cheyenne Fire Fighters Local 279’s Cheyenne PAC, which contributed $2,000 to the campaign.

Collins has spent slightly more than $26,000, using the money for website design, campaign signs, stickers and bumper magnets and advertisements. The biggest chunk of spending, $10,000, was used for mailers to help promote his campaign.

Rick Coppinger’s $7,000 was raised between himself and one individual contributor – $2,000 from Coppinger and $5,000 from one donor. When the campaign finance reports were released, Coppinger had spent $2,658 on signage, marketing and advertising.

Orr raised the lowest amount of the three candidates, with $1,700 from four individual donors. As of the filing deadline, Orr had spent almost $900 on campaign signs as her only campaign spending.

City Council candidates

Ward 1

Four candidates are vying for two open seats in Ward 1 on the Cheyenne City Council, and since the top four candidates advance from the primary to the general election, all four will be on the ballot come November.

Incumbents Jeff White and Pete Laybourn raised the most money during the first filing period.

White narrowly leads with $1,050, though Laybourn is close behind with $950 raised.

White contributed $1,000 to his own campaign and received one individual contribution of $50. He has spent $332 on banners and magnetic signs, while Laybourn has spent $547 on advertising, car decals and signs. In total, Laybourn contributed $500 to his own campaign and received a total of $450 from three individual donors.

Challenger Cameron Karajanis, who hopes to bring representation for the city’s south side, isn’t far behind, having raised $612. Karajanis has spent every cent he raised, mostly through personal contributions, with one individual donor contributing $50. With that money, he’s paid for online ads and campaign material.

Miguel Reyes, who also wants to represent the city’s south side, hadn’t raised any money during the first filing period.

Ward 2

With five candidates in the running for two seats in Ward 2 on the Cheyenne City Council, only four candidates will make it through to the general election in November.

So far, longtime teacher Keren Meister-Emerich is leading the pack for campaign contributions, reporting $6,590. Meister-Emerich’s contributions are split fairly evenly, with $3,500 coming from herself or her immediate family, $500 coming from the Cowgirl Run Fund PAC and the rest coming from 25 individual contributors.

Meister-Emerich has used $6,328 on ads, postcards, mailing and other campaign expenses.

The candidate with the second most funds raised is James Johnson, a newcomer to Cheyenne and senior auditor at the Wyoming Department of Audit. Of the $5,150 that Johnson has raised, $5,100 was his own money, and $50 was from an individual contribution.

Johnson has spent $3,343 on a number of advertisements, from TV to radio to Facebook.

Tom Segrave, who previously served two terms on the council, is the third-highest fundraiser, with $2,025 in contributions from himself. Segrave used the funds on newspaper advertising and campaign signs.

Boyd Wiggam, a lawyer raising his family in town, trails close behind, having spent $1,680 on signs, a website and radio and online advertisements. The majority of Wiggam’s funds came from himself and his immediate family, with two individuals contributing $80 total to his campaign.

Although incumbent Bryan Cook has the lowest contributions at $1,380, he’s only contributed $30 of his own funding to his campaign. For the other four candidates in the race, the average self-contribution is almost $3,000.

Two individuals donated a total of $350 to Cook’s campaign, and the bulk of his funding comes from a $1,000 donation from the Cheyenne Board of Realtors PAC. So far, Cook has spent $30 on Facebook ads.

Ward 3

Two seats are open in Ward 3, so four of the five candidates will advance to the general election. According to the Laramie County Clerk’s office, Shawn “Art” Funk did not submit his campaign finance report by Tuesday’s deadline.

Incumbent Rocky Case has raised the most out of the Ward 3 candidates, with a total of $4,993. Case contributed $500 to his own campaign and received $1,750 from three individual donors. Case also received $1,000 from the Cheyenne Fire Fighters Local 279.

So far, Case has spent $1,537 on campaign signs and online advertising.

Michelle Aldrich, the Career and Technical Education Director for the Wyoming Department of Education, received the second most contributions in the Ward 3 race, putting $1,807 of her own funding toward the campaign. Aldrich spent that total on magnetic signs, postcards and postage.

Richard Johnson, a previous city councilman and well-known community fundraiser, trails closely behind Aldrich, having raised $1,247. Johnson received $407 from himself and his immediate family, and the bulk of his campaign contributions came from seven individual donors, who gave a total of $820.

Johnson has spent $860 on campaign signs and stickers.

Incumbent Mike Luna has raised $267, which consists of his own contributions and a $100 donation from an individual. Leading up to the primary, Luna spent $167 on ads and business cards.

County Commissioner candidates

Nine Republican candidates and one Democrat are vying for two open seats on the Laramie County Board of Commissioners. The top two candidates in the Republican primary will advance to the general election this November, where they will face unchallenged Democrat Jeff Dockter.

During the primary election cycle, incumbent Brian Lovett raised and spent the most money of all candidates.

Lovett received a total of $19,851.96 in campaign contributions, which included $17,705 of his own money. Lovett’s campaign expenditures totaled $16,307.02.

Taft Love, a member of the Laramie County School District 2 Board of Trustees, raised and spent the second-highest amount. He received a total of $15,108.71 in campaign contributions. Love’s campaign expenditures, which included $3,300 for a desk, totaled $14,192.99.

Love clarified on Facebook Wednesday that although he paid for the desk through the campaign account, it was purchased with a “deposit made by me to cover the expense of the desk. We had just moved after living and working in the same house for the last 20 years and needed a new desk for the office and the campaign.”

Love put up more than $10,000 of his own money to finance the campaign, and the rest came mostly from individual donations.

Incumbent K.N. “Buck” Holmes received a total of $6,370 in campaign contributions, and his campaign expenditures totaled $3,688.37; $5,000 of those contributions came from Holmes himself, and the other $1,370 came from several individual donations.

Will Luna received a total of $4,057 in campaign contributions, all of which came from Luna himself or other personal connections. Luna spent a total of $4,020.29 on supplies and advertisements for his campaign.

J.C. Manalo spent just $850 of his own money to pay for printing, signs and other methods of promoting his campaign. He received no other contributions.

Slade Raine, the youngest candidate in the race, reported $2,650 in campaign contributions. All but $100 came out of Raine’s own pocket. He broke even on his expenditures, which paid for standard campaign supplies and promotions.

Nathan Smith, a top investigator at the local HollyFrontier oil refinery, reported $5,305 in campaign contributions, and around $5,000 of that came out of Smith’s pocket. Smith, too, broke even on what he spent during the Republican primary.

Jeff Dockter, the unchallenged Democrat, has neither raised, nor spent any money on his campaign during the primary election cycle.

Sam Eliopoulos and Robert Johnson did not submit any documentation regarding their campaign finances.

The full campaign finance reports for each candidate can be found on the county clerk’s website, https://elections.laramiecountyclerk.com/campaign-finance/.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter at @MargaretMAustin.

Kathryn Palmer is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s education reporter. She can be reached at kpalmer@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3167. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynbpalmer.

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