Justman leads fundraising in Mesa County Commission race

The latest campaign finance filings in the two races for seats on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners show thousands being raised and spent, and most — but not all — of the contributions have come from local folks in small denominations.

Information is available for the most recent reporting period, which began on July 22 and ended on Oct. 11.

Race in District 1

Republican and Fruita farmer John Justman took in the most money in contributions during the period, receiving nearly $11,000.

Over the campaign, Justman has received close to $2,000 from a Front Range Realtor political action committee, and the Mesa County Republican Party gave $1,500 to his campaign.

Justman counts a number of politicians as contributors. Tillie Bishop, Sam Susuras, Mark Hillman and Steve Acquafresca all gave to his campaign.

Interestingly, Justman received $500 from John Davis, owner of local general contractor Blue Star Industries. Davis is the brother-in-law of Jana Gerow, one of Justman’s opponents in the race.

Independent candidate John Leane took in the second-most during the filing period, collecting more than $5,600. Two individuals — Helen Smock and Dixie Christensen — accounted for $2,500 of that total, which also includes $500 from the state AFL-CIO union group.

Leane, however, spent more than any candidate in the race, chalking up more than $12,000 in campaign expenditures in the last cycle. His campaign was nearly $4,000 in the red at the end of the filing period.

Gerow, the unaffiliated third candidate in the race, took in more than $1,800 during the filing period, all in small donations, the largest amount being $150.

Race in District 3

The Democrat in the race, Palisade town trustee and mayor pro-tem Dave Edwards, received more in contributions in the latest cycle, collecting more than $7,000.

The Mesa County Democratic Central Committee gave Edwards $2,500, Clifton citizens Gilbert and Susan Fuller contributed $2,000, and Aaron and Beth Long — affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital — gave him $1,000.

Like District 1 candidate Leane, the Front Range arm of the AFL-CIO union contributed to the Edwards campaign, giving $300.

His Republican opponent, attorney Rose Pugliese, counted more than $3,400 in contributions during the recent cycle. The local Republican party chipped in $600, and over the course of the campaign, Pugliese has received nearly $900 from a Front Range Realtor political action committee.

Pugliese also received $100 from sitting county commissioner Steve Acquafresca, and $250 from Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Pugliese said that she is the only commissioner candidate in the state to receive a contribution from Stapleton.


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