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County races inject thousands into local businesses

Campaign spending has ranged from a few thousand to many thousands of dollars for most candidates. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

In the race for Hubbard County sheriff, leading up to the August primaries, Cory Aukes had out-raised and outspent opponent Frank Homer by a large margin.

By primary time, Aukes had spent nearly $14,000 to get his name throughout the county.

Homer had spent less than $1,000. The two men automatically advanced to the general election.

Financial disclosure filings in the Hubbard County Auditor's office reveal thousands of dollars being spent on the sheriff and county attorney's races in the early stages, while incumbent Dist. 1 commissioner Don Carlson started spending early to retain his seat on the board.

He is being challenged by Park Rapids businesswoman Kathy Grell.

But since the bulk of the campaign spending is occurring now, the extent of those expenditures won't be known until 10 days before the Nov. 2 election, when the second filings are due.

Final disclosures are due 30 days after the election, said auditor Pam Heeren.

And because of the way the candidates have filled out the disclosures, it is unclear what they have spent on their own campaigns.

Both Aukes and Homer say they've personally spent a bundle. How much, neither man admits, he doesn't know.

In addition to the usual media beneficiaries, sign companies are enjoying a windfall making posters, banners, buttons, shirts and vehicle door magnets.

Homer purchased his own version of Homer hankies to give out at the fair.

Fair booths cost the candidates $100; various parades and permits range from $10 to $20.

Heeren said if the candidates had outstanding bills before the primary, they were not forced to disclose those expenditures until they're paid in full. So some early spending may not be reflected in the filings, she said.

And campaign contributions are either listed as "cash" expenditures or contributions "in-kind."

Here are the expenditures to date:

n Cory Aukes reported a cash balance of $6,991.50 in two separate filings. In kind contributions were $798.

He listed $3,520 in contributions from mainly Park Rapids area residents, relatives and two deputies.

He listed expenditures as $13,846.14, mainly for billboards, mailers, posters, yard signs, buttons, shirts and other campaign expenditures.

All but $500 of his contributions was from within the county.

n Frank Homer listed cash of $50 and in-kind donations of $1,655 from mainly Hubbard County residents.

By the time of the primary, he had spent $877.08 on car door magnets, stickers, brochures and miscellaneous campaign expenditures.

n Don Dearstyne announced expenditures of $2,268.62 in his bid for a second term as county attorney. Those expenses went to brochures, signs and campaign buttons, he indicated.

He listed no contributors.

n Attorney Nathaniel Welte, seeking to unseat Dearstyne, filed a statement indicating he had $1,830 in cash.

He indicated expenditures of $3,117.54, primarily for stickers, shirts, banners, brochures and other incidentals.

He also listed contributions of $2,560. All but two contributions, for $400, came from outside the county. The remaining money came from out of town and out of state family and friends.

n Don Carlson announced expenditures of $4,909.09, mainly on newspaper and radio advertising, campaign signs and brochures. He listed no contributors.

n Kathy Grell listed expenditures of $275.42, primarily for campaign brochures, before the primary.

She listed no contributors.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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