Phil Lyman’s opponent outraised him in 2021, financial disclosure show

Davina Smith is the first Diné (Navajo) woman to run for state public office.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding. Lawmakers in the House Chamber during a special session at the State Captiol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

Campaign finance disclosures show Democrat Davina Smith, who is challenging Republican Rep. Phil Lyman in November’s election for House District 69, raised more campaign cash than the incumbent in 2021.

The district covers all of San Juan, Grand, Kane, Garfield and Wayne counties and parts of Emery County and was redrawn last year to absorb Lyman’s current seat, House District 73.

(Zak Podmore | The Salt Lake Tribune) Davina Smith holds a campaign sign in Monument Valley at an event announcing she'll be running for the Utah House of Representatives. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.

Since launching her announcement last month to challenge Lyman for Utah House District 69, Smith — the first Navajo (Diné) woman to run for the state Legislature’s 125 year-old history — raised about $9,300 in 2021 for her campaign. Her campaign’s year-end balance for 2021 is $8,828.

Donors from her would-be legislative district, the Wasatch front and sources outside Utah contributed to Smith’s campaign so far.

Rep. Angelo Romero, D-Salt Lake City, TJ Ellerback, executive director for the Rural Utah Project, Blake Spalding, owner of Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm, are among the 118 donors to donate to Smith’s campaign in 2021, according to her year-end disclosures report.

Comparatively, Lyman raised about $2,450 in 2021, and his campaign has a balance of $8,819 carried over from 2020, according to his year-end disclosures report. Lyman received contributions from the Utah Bankers Association, Utah Agriculture Political Action Committee, and Altria Client Services from Richmond, Va., in 2021.

Altient Client Services is a leading tobacco industry firm that represents companies like Marlboro, Black & Wild, Copenhagen and SKOAL, among other tobacco businesses.

During his reelection bid in 2020 for House District 73, Lyman raised about $1,301 from U-Car PAC, Utah Hospital Association, Utah Petroleum Association and Wolverine Fuels Holding, LLC. In 2020, Lyman had a remaining balance of about $9,482.

U-Car-PAC is associated with the New Car Dealers of Utah in Murray and Wolverine Fuels Holding, LLC, out of Grand Junction, Colo., is a coal mining company that has mining operations at the Sufco Mine in Salina, Skyline Mine in Helper and Dugout Canyon Mine in Wellington.

“I’m always pleased to see people throw their hat in to participate and Davina is no exception,” Lyman, who is also a certified public accountant, told The Tribune. “I look forward to going through the process and the people electing their representatives. I love the whole process.”

As a representative, Lyman has been outspoken against the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument, while advocating for private citizen rights on public lands. Most of the bills he is supporting in the Legislature focus heavily on private property rights of individuals, Lyman said.

Lyman is sponsoring 13 bills, including a proposed bill to protect homeowners and the disabled from abuses from homeowners associations.

With the number of donations that have come to support her campaign, donors are making Smith realize her long-term dream of running for state office, she said.

“When I see someone who has donated or messaged or shared my campaign story, it gives me understanding and appreciation, but this is also a responsibility,” Smith said. “My opponent has a history of having been pardoned by the former administration and this is a campaign against all kinds of history.”

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