VERDE VALLEY - One of the highest-profile local elections this year is that of Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor. It pits Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens against former city council member Randy Garrison.
Both are Republicans and both chose not to run again for their current positions.
Instead, they are pursuing a vacancy to be left by veteran county supervisor Chip Davis, who is running for State House of Representatives.
The county supervisor's job and the candidates
The five supervisors representing separate districts in Yavapai County share the job of running a county that is larger in size than the states of Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island put together.
They are responsible for the financing and administration of county government, govern tax rates and have final approval over county department budgets. They also have final approval for all zoning and use permits in unincorporated areas of the county. Much time is spent meeting with constituents in the various communities that they represent.
Joens and Garrison are running for District 3, which represents the local communities of Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, Verde Village and Village of Oak Creek. Joens lists her key concerns as civic engagement, economic empowerment and transportation. Garrison lists his key concerns as economic development, transportation/infrastructure, natural resources and education.
What the law allows
According to the Arizona Secretary of State, there are legal limits placed on campaign donations to local candidates. Corporations, LLCs and unions are prohibited from making any campaign contributions at all.
Individuals or partnerships may contribute no more than $6,250 toward a candidate. Political Action Committees (PAC) may contribute $6,250, multicandidate packs $12,500 and political parties may contribute unlimited funds (although local candidates are restricted from accepting more than $10,000 in donations). There are no limits as to how much the candidates themselves contribute to their own campaign.
Campaign Finance Reports
When a candidate runs for office, they must file Campaign Finance Reports with the county recorder periodically throughout the election cycle.
The reports track the money that an election committee raises, as well as the money that it spends. Although contributors may make multiple donations, the running tally cannot exceed the legal limit.
And when an individual contributes goods and services in lieu of cash, the value of "in-kind contributions" must also be reported.
How the candidate's finances compare
Coming into the end of May, Joens' campaign had amassed $12,880 in contributions while Garrison raised $9,241. It should be noted that this is a cumulative total, and Garrison - - who filed his candidacy in January of this year - - did not submit a Campaign Finance Report covering last year, while Joens - - who filed her candidacy in September of last year - - did.
A look at the candidate's Campaign Finance Reports show contributors who align with their backgrounds and positions on key issues.
Joens is described as "a regional player" by Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog. Listed on her website are endorsements by Congressman Paul Gosar, Arizona State Representative Karen Fann and former Mingus Union Superintendent Paul Tighe.
Her campaign chair is Penny Frank of Page Spring Cellars and Vineyard in Cornville. Public officials contributing to Joens' campaign include Craig Dible of Sedona. Joens' also shares a donor with county assessor candidate Judd Simmons - - Pam Jones of Tyger Healthcare in Prescott, who contributed $500 to Joens (as well as $1,500 in cash and $457 of "in-kind" contributions to Simmons).
Garrison is locally known for his background in business (Cottonwood Water Works), government (Cottonwood City Council) and education (Mingus and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school boards). He currently serves on the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee (VVBAC), which contributes local feedback to Yavapai College's governing board.
In fact, Garrison's campaign chair (and contributor of $2,250 "in-kind" donations) is Paul Chevalier, chairman of the VVBAC. Another VVBAC board member, Carolyn Fisher, is listed as a contributor. Verde Valley Community College Citizen Advocates Robert Oliphant and Ruth Wicks are also financial supporters of Garrison's campaign.
As for having some "skin in the game," Joens so far has loaned her campaign $1,525, while Garrison's wife Deborah has loaned $2,000.
More to come
Prior to the Aug. 30 primary and Nov. 8 general election, candidates are required to file four more reports describing their campaign contributions and expenses.
These include a pre-primary report, a post-primary report, a pre-general election report and a post-general election report.
As of their latest reports, Joens had $1,987 remaining in her war chest, while Garrison had $2,377.