Denver exec boosts Davis, Trauger coffers
A Denver energy company executive who reportedly has plans to retire to Glenwood Springs has infused a substantial amount of cash into the campaigns of two candidates in the April 7 City Council election.
Michael and Patricia Starzer of Highland Ranch recently gave $4,000 to help elect Ward 1 candidate Steve Davis, and another $2,000 to At-large council candidate Kathryn Trauger, according to campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk’s Office this week.
Those are by far the largest single contributions for either of the two campaigns, which have benefitted from numerous $100 to $400 donations.
In terms of financial support, Davis and Trauger have far outpaced their opponents in the two races, Russ Arensman in Ward 1, and Tony Hershey and Kathy Williams in the At-large contest.
Davis, a home builder who is remodeling a house for the Starzers in the Sunny Acres neighborhood near the Glenwood Springs Golf Club, said he has gotten to know the couple well since taking on the job last summer, and that they are planning to retire in Glenwood.
“I see them about once every six weeks, and happened to mention that I was running for City Council,” Davis said. “He (Mr. Starzer) said that was great, and that he wanted to help.
“I also started talking to him about Kathryn, and told him I thought it was important that she get elected too,” he said.
Davis said he was expecting maybe the usual $250 or so campaign contribution, but was surprised when his campaign manager, current City Councilman Ted Edmonds, said they got a check for $4,000.
“I was pretty speechless,” said Davis, who is now wondering what to do with the $4,381 he still has sitting in his campaign fund with Election Day only three days away.
Michael Starzer is listed as the current chairman and CEO of Fifth Creek Energy Co. of Denver, a privately owned exploration and production company involved in oil and gas development. Starzer is also the founder of Bonanza Creek Energy, from which he retired last year, according to the website of Fifth Creek Energy.
“They’re just very involved politically, and want to be involved in Glenwood Springs … and give back to the community,” Davis said.
Trauger, who has not met the Starzers, said she was gracious for the financial support of her election campaign.
“I think they’re just really interested in supporting the community,” said Trauger, who also lives in the Sunny Acres, as does her campaign chair, Suzanne Stewart. “The donation came because of the relationship they have started to build within the community.”
To date, Davis leads the way in campaign contributions, having taken in $6,875, including $5,525 during the March 18 through April 3 reporting period. The second of three campaign finance reports was due Friday.
Arensman reported another $898.58 in contributions, bringing his total to date in the Ward 1 race to $1,779. Arensman has self-funded about $1,298 of that total, according to his April 3 financial report.
Trauger comes in second in overall campaign giving, with $3,297 total, including $2,550 during the most recent reporting period.
Hershey is the only other candidate to report taking campaign contributions. To date, he has accepted $424, including $250 of his own money.
Williams and the two uncontested ward candidates for City Council, incumbents Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba, have not taken in or spent any money on their campaigns.
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