Every candidate for the two open Mesa County commissioner seats has put some of their own money into their races, but none more than Republican Cody Davis and write-in candidate Bob Prescott.
Davis, who’s running for District 1 against Democrat Kathryn Bedell, leads the way with loaning his campaign $76,390 and contributing another $2,095 to it, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the state by midnight Tuesday.
Prescott, who is running for District 3 against Republican Janet Rowland and Democrat Dave Edwards, has loaned his campaign $8,500 and spent another $26,923 on it, money he intends to be reimbursed for, assuming he can get other contributions.
That may be difficult for him, however. Outside of his own money and an initial $10,000 infusion of cash from his father, Prescott hasn’t raised much from others. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from spending far more than he has.
According to his campaign finance report filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday, Prescott has collected about $32,000 in contributions and loans, but spent more than $75,000, leaving him with a $43,000 deficit.
That’s a bit dismaying to Prescott’s father, sister and uncle, all of whom say that Prescott took that $10,000 in February of last year without his father’s permission, something the candidate emphatically denies.
His 87-year-old father, Ray Prescott, is a resident of Cappella, an assisted living and memory care center in Grand Junction.
He and Prescott’s sister, Theresa Flatten of Grand Junction, and uncle, David Prescott, who lives in California, all tell the same story, that Bob Prescott took advantage of his aging father and his position as trustee for much of his estate and gave himself more money than Ray Prescott had intended.
Bob Prescott, however, said none of that is true, saying his father has been deemed by doctors at the Grand Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center as being mentally incompetent, and that this sister is only trying to get what she can from him before he dies.
“My dad has been deemed incompetent to make his own decisions by the court,” Prescott said. “He wrote that check and signed that check, so he knew exactly what he was doing. My sister, she’s lying. She has tried seven ways from Sunday to discredit me for that. She’s a crazy sister.”
Ray Prescott said he did intend to donate to his son’s campaign, but only $500.
“I never dreamed he would do this,” Ray Prescott said. “He’s mean.”
David Prescott filed a complaint against his nephew last year when Prescott still was trying to qualify for the GOP primary, alleging that the $10,000 donation exceeded campaign finance limits. It was immediately rejected because that contribution came in before new limits on county races went into effect last year.
Under a new law that went into effect in August 2019, candidates for county offices can’t take in more than $2,500 from an individual donor in a single election cycle. State and legislative offices have their own campaign finance limits, though they are a lot less per individual donor.
Neither Flatten nor Prescott’s father has filed any kind of new complaint against Prescott over the matter, nor have they officially asked him to return any of the money, saying they haven’t done so because they are afraid he might retaliate against them.
“I’m just a little afraid of him, and my dad’s afraid he going to hurt me,” said Flatten, who initially didn’t want to speak out publicly about the matter. “He’s told my dad that he knows people and he would hurt me.”
Initially, Prescott tried to qualify for the June primary, but didn’t turn in enough signatures to get onto the GOP ballot, which Rowland went on to win. Since then, he’s filed the necessary paperwork to run as a write-in candidate, and has spent thousands of dollars on radio ads and campaign signs trying to persuade voters to do just that.
Others in that race also have put some of their own money into their campaigns, but in much smaller amounts.
In addition to loaning herself $1,384, Rowland has spent more than $1,000 of her own money on her campaign. Overall, Rowland has collected nearly $10,000 in contributions, the most recent was a $1,000 contribution from Jayson Boebert, the husband of 3rd Congressional District GOP candidate Lauren Boebert, whose campaign Rowland supports.
Edwards, the Democratic candidate in the race, has raised less than $1,000 for his campaign, not including the $577 he loaned to it.
Likewise, Davis’s Democratic opponent, Bedell, has collected more than $25,000 in her campaign, and loaned $2,000 of her own money to it.
The candidates are looking to replace term-limited Commissioners John Justman and Rose Pugliese in next month’s general election, both of whom are completing their second four-year terms on the three-member panel.