Torre bests Skadron in Aspen mayoral race fundraising |

Torre bests Skadron in Aspen mayoral race fundraising

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

In the campaign fundraising sprint to Tuesday’s runoff in the Aspen mayoral race, Torre bested Steve Skadron by raising $3,755 to Skadron’s $3,035, finance reports filed with the City Clerk’s Office show.

However, Skadron already had $2,124 at the beginning of the reporting period, which started May 8 and ended Tuesday. Torre had $28 on the day after the May 7 general election, in which he ran second and Skadron ran first among a field of six.

That gave Skadron a campaign war chest of $5,159 compared with Torre’s $3,783 during the 20-day reporting period.

The campaign finance reports filed Tuesday also list both councilmen’s expenditures during that time. Torre spent $2,724, a total that includes $2,215 in advertising with the Aspen Daily News. Similarly, Skadron spent $2,539, a figure that includes $1,250 for Daily News advertising, $465 for the U.S. Postal Service and $250 for an event at Justice Snow’s, the city-subsidized restaurant in the Wheeler Opera House building.

All donors contributing $20 or more are named on the reports in accordance with state law.

Skadron’s contribution list includes $25 from Dorothea Farris, a former Pitkin County commissioner and Aspen school board member; $200 from Jim DeFrancia, a city planning and zoning commissioner; $250 from Blanca O’Leary, chairwoman of the Pitkin County Democrats; $100 each from Bert Myrin and Marcella Larsen, two other city planning and zoning commissioners; and $250 from Jack Johnson, a former city councilman.

Torre’s donor list includes $250 from Don Sheeley, chairman of the Commercial Core Lodging Commission; $250 from Mary Katherine Gardenswartz, his campaign treasurer; $100 from Lee Mulcahy, an outspoken critic of Aspen Skiing Co., Mulcahy’s former employer; $250 from affordable-housing developer Peter Fornell; $250 from Boulder public-relations specialist Matt Moseley; $250 from Realtor Tim Mooney; and $250 from yoga instructor Gina Murdock.

Skadron said Wednesday that the amount of money a candidate raises or spends doesn’t necessarily equate to victory. For example, before the May 7 general election, retired tax attorney Maurice Emmer raised $5,334 and loaned $4,976 to his own campaign during the finance period covering April 11 to 30. He spent $12,710.

And in the reporting period before that, Emmer raised $8,275 and loaned himself $12,260. He ended up running a strong third in the six-man field but missed the runoff. The Republican since has vowed to run for mayor in 2015.

“What I’ve learned is that it’s not the amount of money that’s been raised; it’s from where the money comes,” said Skadron, who is midway through his second consecutive council term, having first been elected in 2007.

In other words, he said, some people might write generous checks to a campaign, but there are others who contribute small amounts and actively work on its behalf, drumming up votes through word-of-mouth in their local business and social circles.

“There’s ultimately more strength in a local person giving me $25 than there is in an out-of-town friend or relative writing me a $250 check,” Skadron said. “That’s because of their presence in the community and the fact that they can actually vote.”

City Clerk Kathryn Koch said the rules dictate that the candidates no longer can raise money for their campaigns — but they can spend it.