Jack Turner came in second and Clyde Church was last in most recent reporting period
Brad Blake, Clyde Church and Jack Turner are running for La Plata County commissioner this November. (Durango Herald file)
Campaign finance reports filed by the three candidates running for La Plata County commissioner show Republican Brad Blake raising significantly more money than his opponents in the most recent filing period.
Blake raised a whopping $35, 486 during the period, while independent candidate Jack Turner raised $23,498 and incumbent Democratic candidate Clyde Church brought in $1,225.
The filing period ran from July 24 to Oct. 13.
A significant chunk of Blake’s donations – $16,725 – came from the La Plata County Republican Central Committee. Turner is not affiliated with a party, and Church received a $6,000 donation from the county’s Democratic Central Committee several months ago.
“There are some races that are getting some good money and that’s important, at a national level,” Church said when asked why he had not received more from his party. He said money is also being directed to other campaigns, such as the race for state House District 59 between incumbent Barbara McLachlan and Republican challenger Shelli Shaw.
Blake said local enthusiasm for the county commissioner race and his candidacy likely drove donations to the Republican Central Committee.
“I have been fortunate enough to receive a lot from the people in the community (via) the Committee,” Blake said.
Blake received nine donations for $1,000 or more, while Turner received seven donations for $1,000 or more. Church’s largest donation was $250.
Only two significant donations to any of the three campaigns came from someone who listed an out-of-state address: Turner received $1,038 from his cousin in Los Angeles, and Blake received $2,500 from George Cable, who’s primary address is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cable owns a home on Colorado Highway 172 near Elmore’s Corner, where he and his wife vacation five or six weeks per year.
“Since we bought the place in ’05, it’s sad to see, in my opinion, how far downhill Durango has gone in the last five or 10 years,” Cable said. “Last time I was downtown in August, it looked really trashy. They’re trying to move commercial enterprises into areas near our home on (Highway) 172 and it’s just not what we were expecting.”
Cable said he hoped Blake would “bring some conservative values and ideas back to the world and get rid of the wokeness I see going on.”
Although he does not know Blake personally, Cable said he hopes Blake will reverse what he views as a degradation of the county’s “Christian, country, USA values.”
In terms of campaign expenditures, Turner led the pack, spending $26,074 in the last period. Blake followed, spending $13,030 and Church spent $4,229. All three candidates spent a large portion of their reported expenditures on various forms of advertising including newspaper ads, radio ads and postcards.
Turner cited one instance in which he called a donor because he knew he and that donor disagreed on how the county had handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Turner said he had planned not to cash the check, but the donor told him to do so despite the disagreement. Blake said he asked potential supporters not to donate on several occasions, citing “personal reasons.” Church has not declined any donations.
As of Oct. 13, Blake had $42,640 on hand, Turner had $2,567 and Church had $124.