The race is on for campaign money in Pitkin sheriff, CD3 contests | AspenTimes.com
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The race is on for campaign money in Pitkin sheriff, CD3 contests

With the Nov. 8 elections 12 weeks away, DiSalvo has held a commanding lead over Buglione in the fundraising arena.

A Michael Buglione for sheriff sign there, a re-elect Joe DiSalvo sign there. Those are signals of an election coming, and somebody has to pay for them.

With the Nov. 8 elections 12 weeks away, DiSalvo has held a commanding lead over Buglione in the fundraising arena. His campaign reported it had $19,808 in the bank as of July 23, while Buglione had $4,473 to spend as of the same date.

“I have funds trickling in,” Buglione said Monday. “I will have some meet-and-greets and a fundraiser through now and probably through September.”



The incumbent DiSalvo, who is seeking his fourth four-year term as sheriff, eased to victory in the June open primary election, capturing 56.8% of the vote (2,912 votes). Buglione, who previously worked for the Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Police Department, finished second at 37.4% (1,917 votes), and Aspen businessman Michael Buysse rounded out the field with 5.8% (296 votes). The top two vote-getters advanced to the November general election.

“I’m not letting off the gas. Things are expensive, and any successful candidate needs a war chest,” said DiSalvo. He is running without a party affiliation.




DiSalvo and Buglione once worked together at the Sheriff’s Office, but they parted ways after disagreements on how the agency was being run. Buglione resigned in 2019.

Buglione has been campaigning on a platform against DiSalvo’s plans to build a new jail facility, an argument the challenger shares with former Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, a columnist with the Aspen Daily News who has argued in his commentaries against the re-election of DiSalvo and a new jail.

“Because Joey wants to build a new jail,” Buglione cited as one of his main reasons to run for sheriff. “The one we have has 24 beds, and the count this morning (Monday) was nine inmates running at less than 50% capacity.”

Buglione said funds spent on a new jail would be better geared building housing for sheriff’s deputies to use until they find longer term housing.

DiSalvo has maintained that the current jail facility is antiquated and needs to be replaced. He also touts his long experience on the sheriff’s force as evidence of his stability on the job.

“It’s almost become too repetitive for me to keep saying that I’ve been with the same organization for 36 years and the last 12 as sheriff,” he said. “I know my record is good, and the community loves this organization.”

Buglione is running as a Democrat and has the nomination of the Pitkin County Democratic Party. He is one of the scheduled speakers at the Pitkin Democrats’ annual dinner this month, which has a lineup with local, regional, state and federal officeholders seeking re-election, along with such challengers as Adam Frisch, who is running against first-term Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

DiSalvo said he plans to attend that event, as well as any put on by the Pitkin County Republicans.

Like Buglione, Frisch is lagging behind his opponent when it comes to raising cash.

The former Aspen city councilman had $570,522 in cash in hand as of June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission’s most recent quarterly reporting cycle. Boebert’s campaign committee reported $2.265 million available as of June 30.

Through June 30, Frisch received the maximum $2,900 contributions from Paula and Jim Crown of the Crown family, which owns Aspen Skiing Co., as well as $250 from both Anne Mullins and Dwayne Romero, both with whom he served on City Council, and former Aspen Mayor Bill Stirling, according to raw data from the FEC.

Boebert’s campaign also has found fortune in the 81611 ZIP code, with maximum donations coming from Aspen Times columnist Elizabeth Milias and frequent letter-to-the-editor writer Maurice Emmer, along with multiple contributions from real estate broker Lorrie Winnerman, an oft critic of Aspen City Hall.

“Every meeting that I went to when Adam was on City Council, the biggest thing that he did is change Columbus Day into Indigenous (Peoples) Day,” Winnerman said of Frisch, who was on council in October 2017 when it passed the resolution.

Frisch was not available for immediate comment Monday, yet he has made no qualms that his candidacy’s sole mission is to oust the controversial freshman representative from office.

“It’s time to put an end to tyranny and the Christian Taliban that Boebert and MTG (Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Georgia) belong to,” said an email blast from the Frisch campaign Monday seeking contributions, noting anti-transgender bills being pushed by Boebert and Green. “Rush in a donation today to put an end to these despicable bills and elect someone who will put America’s needs first.”

The deadline for congressional candidates to file campaign finance reports for the quarterly period ending Sept. 30 is Oct. 15.

The next campaign finance reports for Pitkin County office candidates are due Oct. 18 and cover the cycle from July 24 to Oct. 13. County Commissioner Patti Clapper of District 1 is running unopposed, while incumbent Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury​​ faces a challenge from Erin Smiddy.

The sheriff is one of three county elected positions that doesn’t have term limits. The county’s assessor and clerk and recorder’s offices also don’t have term limits.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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