Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Ralph Becker, a Democrat who leads in latest polls to be the capital city's next mayor, is picking up financial support from longtime Democrats, gay activists and a few Republicans as well, his latest campaign money filings show.

The GOP candidate, Dave Buhler, a former state senator who has spent the last eight years on the City Council, is receiving support from longtime Republicans and firms that have had some dealings with the city in recent years, his reports show.

Both men appear to have enough cash to finish strong campaigns this last full week before the Nov. 6 election. Becker had $82,000 as of Monday, while Buhler had $57,000.

Becker has raised $590,000 and spent $507,000. Buhler has raised $464,000 and spent $407,000.

A number of individuals, groups and businesses gave to both Buhler and Becker — clearly wanting to hedge their bets on who will be the new mayor.

The leaders in giving to both men, $7,500 to each — $15,000 overall — are Michael and Marianne Moffitt, the owners of Gold Cross Ambulance. Gold Cross recently lost the city's contract for ambulance services.

Cowboy Properties split $10,000 evenly between both candidates. Cowboy Properties is doing all the residential units in the LDS Church's City Creek development of two downtown city blocks.

And Earl Holding, owner of the Little America hotels and Sinclair Oil, gave both candidates $5,000 each.

Some Republicans who gave to Becker include John Price, the former Utah GOP national committeeman who over time raised so much money for the national Republican Party that President Bush appointed him an ambassador to three small African nations. Price, together with his wife and son, gave Becker $20,000.

Before the September primary election, which whittled the candidate field to two, Salt Lake County Democratic Councilwoman Jenny Wilson and Becker shared support from the city's gay and lesbian community. Now that Wilson is no longer a candidate, that support is flowing extensively to Becker, the minority leader in the Utah House.

Well-known gay and lesbian supporter Bruce Bastian, a co-founder of WordPerfect, who gave $7,500 to Wilson, has now given $7,500 — the legal limit of contributions — to Becker. The gay activist group Equality Utah has also donated $7,500 to Becker, the new reports show.

Becker is running a new TV endorsement advertisement which starts with Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake, saying that Becker shares "our values." Biskupski is one of three openly gay members of the Utah Legislature.

Planned Parenthood of Utah gave Becker $3,000. The Utah Consumer Lending Association, which represents "payday lenders," gave him $1,000. That group also gave Buhler $500. The city has considered limiting the number of payday lenders in its boundaries.

Meanwhile, Buhler continues to draw support, especially from well-known businesses and GOP leaders. U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, gave Buhler $2,000, his latest report shows. U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, gave another $1,000.

Reagan Outdoor Advertising and EnergySolutions waste-management company are firms that have given in Utah races for years, and they also contributed to Buhler. He got $7,000 from Reagan — Becker in the Legislature has opposed loosening of outdoor advertising laws — and $2,000 from EnergySolutions.

Democratic Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley gave Republican candidate Buhler $200 and gave the same amount to Becker. The Salt Lake City Police Association gave Buhler $1,000, and Salt Lake Board of Realtors gave Buhler $1,000.

In fact, a number of local contractors and developers gave to Buhler. The Boyer Co., developer of The Gateway on the city's west side, gave him $5,000; Layton Construction gave $2,000; the Utah Homebuilders gave $1,000; the Salt Lake Homebuilders gave $1,500; the Utah Property Rights Coalition gave $1,000; and West Side Properties gave Buhler a break on his campaign headquarters' rent, amounting to thousands of dollars.

Some big names from inside and outside of Utah donated, as well. Longtime Democratic supporters Ian and Annette Cumming, who now live in Wyoming, and their son, David, gave Becker a total of $11,500. Meanwhile, Buhler got thousands of dollars in cash from the Simmons family — big holders in Zions Bank.


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