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Harrison Wendt, Dave Woodruff lead Durango City Council candidates in fundraising

First reporting period shows one candidate raised nothing, another broke $10,000 mark
Five candidates are running for Durango City Council. Upper row: Douglas Snow and Gilda Yazzie; lower row: Dave Woodruff, Harrison Wendt and Carter Rogers.

Campaign finance filings from the five candidates vying for the two spots on Durango City Council reveal that three of them – Harrison Wendt, Dave Woodruff and Gilda Yazzie – raised considerable amounts of money since January.

Wendt led the pack, bringing in $11,361 in donations, followed by Woodruff, who raised $8,360. Yazzie trailed slightly behind, with reported contributions totaling $5,355.

Carter Rogers, the 21-year old Fort Lewis College student body president seeking office, raised just $192.16, including $77.16 he lent his own campaign. Douglass Snow did not raise any money.

Although the ability to raise money is only one indicator of a candidate’s potential for success, those leading the pack are glad to see the community put money behind them and are optimistic about their chances in the April 4 election.

“I have a lot of community support and a lot of people who believe in my message and the change that I can bring to Durango and I think that that is what contributed to people donating as much as they did,” Wendt said.

This is Wendt’s second run at a seat on the council; a 2021 run ended in a last-place defeat in a field of five other candidates. At this time two years ago, Wendt had raised just $1,693.

Candidates are raising more this year than the last time around. Both Wendt and Woodruff have raised more than the $7,727 that the top fundraiser had accrued at this time in 2021.

As of Tuesday’s filing deadline, Wendt had $3,183.23 on hand, Woodruff had $2,821 and Yazzie had $873.35.

Each of the three received numerous donations in the $50 to $200 range, in addition to a handful of larger donations. Woodruff received 29 individual donations with an average donation size of $288. Wendt received 88 donations with an average donation size of $129. Yazzie received 32 donations with an average donation size of $167.

An overwhelming majority of the donors have addresses in Durango, with only a small handful of exceptions. Woodruff received $750 from relatives in Kansas. Ken Carpenter, whose has an address in Bayfield, contributed $2,000 to Wendt, $1,000 to Woodruff and $500 to Yazzie.

Al Harper, owner of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, contributed $250 to Wendt, Woodruff and Yazzie.

Woodruff’s roster of contributors includes an assortment of names one might expect from someone so deeply rooted in Durango’s business community. It includes big names in restaurants across the city as well as businesses such as Durango Rivertrippers and a number of people involved in real estate and development.

“I’ve been able to find my community of people that believe in what I’ve done over the past three or four years and are able to align themselves with what I’ve been contributing to the community,” he said.

Wendt appears to have assembled the support of many prominent Democrats, including former La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt, La Plata Dems Chairwoman Anne Markward and other members of the Democrats’ executive committee, of which Wendt is himself a member.

In the few weeks before the election, candidates say they will continue to use their remaining money to convert voters to their cause. Ballots have already begun to arrive in mailboxes and must be returned by 7 p.m. April 4 to be counted.


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