In a tumultuous race for the Republican Primary Utah House District 53 election, the well entrenched incumbent outspent his up-and-coming opponent. Melvin Brown, who has served 24 years in the state legislature, spent $11,915 to Logan Wilde’s $6,542.
According to campaign financial disclosures filed with the Utah Lieutenant Governor, Brown also took in more campaign contributions from January to June. Brown accepted $19,087 to Wilde’s $9,510. However, when eliminating an $11,835 balance transfer from Brown’s 2014 campaign fund, Brown only collected a total of $7,252 in new money since January.
From January to April, Wilde had $140 in campaign contributions from Morgan County residents, but spent $380, mostly on attending county conventions.
From April to June, Wilde collected $9,370 in contributions, mostly from local individuals and a $3,000 personal loan. He spent $6,162, mostly on flyers, signs, polls and paying a campaign assistant. He ended his primary campaign on June 21 with a balance of $2,968.
From January to April, Brown had $14,085 in campaign contributions, a majority (84 percent) of which was a balance transfer from 2014 contributions. The remaining $2,250 in campaign contributions came from businesses and the Utah House Elections Committee. Brown spent $6,788 on gifts and meals for volunteers, campaign help, suit cleanings, office supplies, car rental, attending dinners and conventions put on by county Republican groups, gas, signs and printing.
From April to June, Brown collected $5,002 in contributions from political action committees, businesses and three individuals. He spent $5,127 on fuel, canvassing supplies, signs, printing and office supplies, tables at county Republicans conventions, and campaign help, as well as lunch, drinks and treats for volunteers. He ended his primary campaign on June 21 with a balance of $7,172.
After the primary election, vote canvass, recount and brief stint in the State Supreme Court where Brown contested vote counts, Wilde won the primary election by a slim nine votes. In November, Wilde’s name will be opposite Democratic candidate Cole R. Capener, a Snyderville resident, on the general election ballot. Capener grew up in Ogden, attended Ogden public schools and spent much of his international law career in China. He also operates a nonprofit organization in Zimbabwe.
With the ousting of a long-term Republican incumbent in the primary election, many expect the Democratic fight to heighten in the District 53 race. District 53 includes Morgan, Daggett, Rich, Duchesne and Summit counties.
So far, Capener has spent $603 for filing fees, campaign postcards and yard signs, mostly self-funded. He has also accepted $150 in contributions from three individuals.