Willett rakes in contributions for House race
DENVER — A relative late entry into the race for House District 54, Republican Yeulin Willett still managed to outstrip all other candidates combined in campaign donations for the seat being vacated by Rep. Jared Wright.
The Fruita Republican incumbent announced back in March that he would not seek a second term to the office.
Since then, Willett has amassed a war chest of nearly $16,000 in his bid against two other candidates, Democrat Brad Webb and Republican-turned-independent James Fletcher.
During that same time, Webb raised $6,300, while Fletcher brought in more than $4,000, according to the candidates’ latest campaign finance reports. A fourth candidate, Libertarian Samuel Davis, hasn’t raised any money at all.
Of the money Willett raised, only $800 came from outside the district. One of his largest donors is also his largest expenditure.
Willett received $800 from Grand Valley resident Alex Chaffetz and his wife, Christy. Chaffetz is owner of Rock Chalk Media, a public relations firm, which received more than $5,800 to do some advertising for the candidate.
Webb, a wine maker from Orchard Mesa, raised $1,000 from the Mesa County Democratic Party and put an equal amount into his own campaign.
And like other Democrats running for offices around the state, he received $400 from Fort Collins Democratic supporter and millionaire Pat Stryker.
Fletcher raised about $4,100 since the last reporting of campaign finances to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in January.
About $1,380 of that came from his own pocket.
Although he’s no longer running, Wright still brought in $1,800 before he dropped out of the race, and has since spent most of the money he’s received since getting elected to the seat in 2012.
Most of it, about $7,000, has gone to Tactical Data Solutions, a Grand Junction consulting firm owned by Thomas Bjorklund. Wright also reimbursed himself nearly $3,000 for such things as travel, food, lodging and advertising.
In House District 55, which encompasses Grand Junction, a new entry into that race, Daniel Thurlow, raised more than $6,400 in his GOP primary bid against Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, who pulled in $2,500.
The winner of that race will face Democrat Chris Kennedy, who raised $2,500, including a $700 loan to his own campaign. Kennedy and his mother, Jeanne, also donated a combined $250 to the campaign.
And in Senate District 3, the seat being vacated by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, because of his bid for Mesa County Sheriff, Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, pulled in less money than his Democratic opponent, Claudette Konola, but still has far more money at his disposal.
Scott raised about $1,900 compared to Konola’s $3,000, but because he was able to transfer money from his old House account, Scott still has more than $16,000 in cash on hand.