Developers and others in their trade are pumping money into the Gilbert City Council race, backing the two incumbents who have each amassed a sizable campaign war chest ahead of the Aug. 2 primary, according to statements from campaign finance filed July 15.
Incumbents Scott September and Yung Koprowski and candidates Chuck Bongiovanni, Bobbi Buchli, Jim Torgeson, Bill Spence, Mario Chicas, Michael Clark and Bus Obayomi are vying for the four open seats. September and Koprowski were both nominated in 2020.
The election comes at a time when Gilbert still has about a decade of growth and development and some candidates are taking a stand against building more high-density apartments in town.
The fact that September and Koprowski received so much support from the development community has already become campaign fodder for some candidates, who claim to have sold.
September, who served on the Planning Commission before his appointment, led the contestants with $39,306 raised and $3,486 spent from April 1 to June 30. To date, he has raised $41,776 and spent $5,856.
Its second-quarter donors included $2,000 from Keith Blue of Kinzerini Management to Gilbert, an apartment building lessor; $200 from developer Jerry Davis, president of Kaplan Multifamily in Scottsdale; $500 from Mike Hoover, CEO of construction company Sundt Corp. in Scottsdale; $250 from Bruce Hart of developer Vendera Residential in Paradise Valley; $350 from Chris Hundelt of Keystone Homes in Phoenix; $1,500 from Randall Downing of Coal Creek Consulting, which offers wireless site development and modification services in Phoenix and $500 from Walter Crutchfield, a partner at Vintage Partners, a commercial real estate developer in Phoenix.
Other donors include James Miller, senior vice president of IPX 1031, a real estate investment exchange, donating $500; Brad Vogelsmeier, vice president of developer Milhaus in Indianapolis, $500; Sean Milks, owner of Gravity Pad Towers in New Mexico, $500; Michael Kaplan with Kaplan Real Estate Management in Texas, $250 and Rex Richardson, Vice Mayor of the Long Beach City Council, $250.
September also received financial support from employees of his work at Crown Castle International – Daniel Schweizer donated $100 and Brian Thomas donated $250.
A number of land use lawyers also opened their portfolios for the September campaign.
Beus attorney Leo Beus Gilbert McGroder donated $1,000; Pew & Lake attorneys William Pew donated $250; Sean Lake, $250 and Reese Anderson, $250; attorney Andrew Miller of Burch & Crachiollo, $250; Gammage & Burnham attorneys Lindsay Schube donated $200; Ashley Marsh, $150, and Manjula Vaz, $500.
People who gave to the two holders included Grant Kingdon, vice president of Creation RE+PE, an investment and real estate group in Phoenix, who gave September and Koprowski each $1,500; Scott Whittington, director of developer Avalon Investments, gave everyone $1,000.
Gary Free of RE Investment in Utah donated $300 to each holder; developer Andrew Call, vice president of Thompson Thrift, gave each holder $500, real estate developer Jeffrey Kern, along with developer Fore Green, gave each holder $150; Adelaida Severson of Bushtek, a Gilbert satellite communications company, gave everyone $1,000; Jonathan Cornelius, vice president of Fore Property Co., a real estate developer, gave everyone $250; Clay Richardson, managing director of Wood Partners, a construction and property management company in Scottsdale, gave $200 each and James Lindbloom of Willmeng, a Phoenix construction company gave $300 each.
Withey Morris’ lawyers, Jason Morris, gave September and Koprowski $1,000 each; Adam Baugh each donated $500 and William Allison each donated $125.
Chad Heywood, a partner at political consultancy group Camelback Strategy, gave each incumbent $200.
Gilbert’s retiree, George Dottl, gave $1,200 to September and $1,000 to Koprowski.
September also collected a total of $150 in individual contributions from people who gave $100 or less and he loaned $10,000 to his campaign.
The Political Action Committees also gave incumbents a lot, with Gilbert Fire Fighters giving $6,500 each; The Salt River Project Political Participation Committee is donating $800 each and Cox AZ PAC is donating $500 each.
September spent $3,486 with expense money, including $1,870 to Roundtable Strategies for advertising; $750 to BW Creative Agency for design; $282 to Anedot online fundraiser and $94 to Vistaprint for communications materials.
Koprowski, who is a transportation engineer with her own company, raised $25,316 in the second quarter, for a total of $37,286.
His donations included $400 from his mother-in-law, Jane Moisant, retired from Chandler; $200 from retired Gilbert Barbara Farmer; $500 from attorney Garry Hays; $200 from Dave Bruggeman with Lee Engineering to Gilbert; $200 from architect Gilbert Cassandra Updike and $500 from vet Gilbert Thomas Lewis.
Her support also included $500 from Elizabeth Dine, a Gilbert real estate agent; $200 from Chris Woolery, a civil engineer with Kimley Horn, a planning and design engineering firm; $400 from Caroline Decesare of interior designer Decesare Design Group in Gilbert; $200 from Richard Norman, owner of Gilbert Mortgage; $500 from Eric Boivin, CEO of All Traffic Data Services in Colorado and $200 from Valerie Shaffer of Horizon Strategies.
Shaffer was former assistant to Mayor Jenn Daniels and followed Daniels when she left in 2020 for Horizon Strategies, a lobbying firm. Daniels’ business has helped developers such as Mill Creek Residential, which wants to build a mixed-use development with 274 apartments near Higley and Ray roads. Daniels donated $200 to Koprowski in the first quarter.
Koprowski also received a total of $1,460 in individual donations of $100 and under and $2,500 from Realtors of Arizona PAC.
She spent $6,871 in the second quarter, leaving her with $28,667 in the bank. His expenses included $2,262 to Roundtable Strategies for campaign signs; $2,500 to Petrina Lundy for website development and $1,410 to Graphic Ideals for yard signs.
Spence, who spent less than a year on the board as a 2020 appointee, raised $4,374, $4,000 of which came from his own money, bringing his election total to $5,705.
His donors included David Seigler, executive director of the New Horizons Disability Empowerment Center, $100; Lauren Eccles, Intel Data Scientist, $149 and Gilbert Tom Thrasher, Retired, $100.
Spence’s $4,227 expenses included $3,126 for Print Smart for campaign signs; $74 to photographer Gilbert Elaine Kessler and $1,026 to Arizona Grassroots Advocates for signatures.
Bongiovanni, which does not take donations, self-funds his run, injecting $25,000 in the second quarter for a total of $32,332. He spent $15,889, bringing the total spent so far on his campaign to $23,059.
Its expenses for the second quarter included $7,743 to Mesa Sign Shop for signs; $3,112 to Nina Construction Supply for rebar; $300 to Gilbert Chamber of Commerce for publicity; $709 to Clipper Magazine for publicity; $899 to The Arizona Beehive for publicity and $1,391 to Times Media Group for publicity.
Buchli has raised $17,100 in the second quarter for a total of $18,600 so far.
His donations include $3,000 from Jim Lamon, a Republican running for a U.S. Senate seat; and $500 from retired Scottsdale resident Margaret Clark.
Its expenses of $16,514 in the second quarter included $2,775 at Mesa Sign Shop for signs; $1,159 to Times Media Group for advertising; $6,518 for communications services from The Resolute Group, a Phoenix company that espouses free enterprise and conservative values; and $1,594 for HD Strategic Group, a Queen Creek company that touts, “It’s time to take back the ‘America “.
She also spent $550 for unspecified professional services from Brittany Sweeney and $100 in event fees from America Pack, a group that recruits and supports constitutional conservative candidates.
Chicas raised $12,064 in the second quarter for a total of $12,564.
His donors included Mesa housewife Mari Anderman, who gave $6,500; real estate agent Paul Bruccoleri donated $1,000; Gilbert Realtor Dana Kaupie donated $250 and Dr. Sol De Jesus of Pennsylvania donated $200.
He also received a total of $964 from donors who each gave less than $100.
Chicas said it spent $7,473 but did not itemize its expenses as required by law.
Torgeson raised $4,442 in the second quarter with donations from Jason Barney, a commercial, industrial and residential real estate developer, who gave $500 and Dr. Anne Welsh, $100.
Councilman Gilbert Laurin Hendrix, who is running for a State House seat, gave $2,500 to Chicas and $1,000 to Torgeson and former Councilman Gilbert Jared Taylor gave $150 each to Chicas, Buchli and Torgeson.
Torgeson loaned his campaign $3,790.
Her expenses of $4,442 left her with $834.
The expenses included $3,309 he paid Mesa Sign Shop, which he owns, for promotional materials; $916 to Dan Daniels for sign installation and $217 to Dr. Don’s in Glendale for promotional materials.
Obayomi raised $4,100 and spent $3,000, which was not itemized as required by law.
Its top donor was WeSERV Association of Realtors PAC with $2,500. And another large sum of money came from a $1,500 personal loan.
Clark, who had to take time off from politics due to a family emergency, did not respond if he intended to file his form.
The next filing is the pre-primary report, which is due July 23.