Provo Mayor's Fundraising Campaign Sets Record

Provo Mayor's Fundraising Campaign Sets Record

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Mayor Lewis Billings raised more money for his re-election campaign in a single night than any other candidate has ever spent or raised in city history.

A $500-a-plate dinner netted Billings $50,000. The previous record stood at about $42,000, which was raised by former Mayor George Stewart in 1993.

"Wow," Stewart said. "It's probably a landmark in city politics. Amounts above that are raised in congressional, senatorial and even gubernatorial races but not in Provo city politics."

Billings, seeking a third term, is being challenged Dave Bailey. The election is Nov. 8.

Four years ago, Billings defeated Bailey by 362 votes. In that race, the two combined to spend about $67,000.

Billings is simply keeping up with Bailey, said Hal Wing, who organized Wednesday's dinner.

Bailey told people early in the race he would raise up to $100,000 in his second bid to unseat Billings.

Bailey has since revised that figure.

"I figure we should be close to $50,000 by the time we're done," said Bailey's wife and campaign manager, Mary Bailey.

She's not worried about being outspent by Billings.

"Not at all," she said. "Our donors make smaller contributions, but they have donated because they are ready for a change. Eight years is too long."

Wing said Wednesday night's dinner was attended by about 50 people, but 75 to 80 purchased plates. Wing matched the donations of many of the diners to bring the total amount raised to a little more than $50,000, he said.

Expensive as it appears, Provo's race still won't be nearly as expensive as the mayoral race in Salt Lake City, where Mayor Rocky Anderson and challenger Frank Pignanelli combined to spend $1.15 million in 2003.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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