(photo credit: Skip ODonnell, © 2006)
Well the local papers pointed out what I suspected, that Ralph Becker's numbers' weren't as impressive as they sounded.
With summer still on the horizon, and the election more than five months away, Keith Christensen is setting a blistering pace in the Salt Lake City mayoral cash contest, already amassing more than half a million dollars.
Christensen, who has led the fundraising charge all year, has piled up more than $508,000 - much of it from developers and other business owners - according to the latest round of campaign finance disclosures filed Friday.
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson is in second place with just over $241,000 - less than half Christensen's total. But Wilson also has spent more than any other candidate, leaving her with just $89,000 in the bank.
City Councilman Dave Buhler runs third with $216,000, followed by House Minority Leader Ralph Becker, who has raised $176,000 but has spent relatively little.
Of course, the more important numbers are cash on hand and polls (especially the ones where people vote). But some times fundraising numbers are a good proxy for how the race is shaping up. For example, Hillary has lots of money, then Obama, then Edwards, and then the rest of the crowd on the Democratic side. McCain poor fundraising matches his lackluster polls and overall sinking in the standings, while Giulliani and Romney's prowess relate back to their polling in a way.
But some times, it just means you have rich friends, not that you have lots of friends.
The bulk of Christensen's cash comes from big fish in the capital city's business community. Developers Kem Gardner and Dell Loy Hansen each kicked in at least $7,000, while Spencer Eccles contributed $7,500. Checks for $5,000 or higher also came from mortgage and real estate companies. And Stuart Reid, a former mayoral hopeful and Christensen ally, added $2,500 to the campaign.
Wilson's ledger includes a long list of donors who mostly have given less than $1,000. But there are a handful of private big spenders - Bruce Bastian, co-founder of WordPerfect, floated the campaign $6,500 - as well as small business and real estate money.
Early polls have shown Wilson holding a lead with Buhler in second place. Christensen, Becker and Saxton trail, according to the surveys...
Becker's people will undoubtedly point out that unlike the others, he could not fundraise during the legislative session and that his support is pouring in in May. Most of his checks are much smaller, which may be better ethically, but when others are getting $7,500 checks and you are getting $500, it is tough.
I would really like to see a debate with the top four so the public can decide who the top two should be. When everyone is invited, you can't hear much more than sound bites.