A pair of Dacono city council members facing a recall election later this month have hired a familiar face to help with their campaigns, according to campaign finance documents obtained by Yellow Scene Magazine through an open records request.
Jackie Thomas and Jim Turini spent a combined $4,200 to hire a Denver-based firm called Bridger/Carson Consulting, LLC for political consultation. That total accounts for about $0.53 cents of every dollar that both candidates received during April 28 to June 6 reporting period, according to the documents.
Bridger/Carson was organized in January of this year by Andrew Struttman, an owner and partner at the political consulting firm Saratoga Strategies, according to documents from the Secretary of State’s office.
Struttman’s LinkedIn profile says he’s previously worked as a Field Director for the Republican National Committee and Cory Gardner’s campaign in 2014. It also describes Saratoga Strategies as a full-service consulting firm specializing in “strategy, field campaigning, voter outreach, communications, and data.”
Saratoga Strategies has worked with Republican campaigns such as Woodward for Colorado, a committee that supported former Sen. Rob Woodward until he was unseated by Democrat Janice Marchman in 2022, as well as for Republicans Dan Woog and Barbara Kirkmeyer, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Thomas’ campaign finance report noted that the $2,100 her campaign paid Bridger/Carson was for “electioneering communications.” Turini did not mark the same box on his report.
YS reached out to both Thomas and Turini for comment about hiring Bridger/Carson and whether they told their donors that the funds would be spent on consulting fees. Thomas replied that she did tell her donors about how the funds would be used. Turini did not respond.
YS previously reported that Struttman and Saratoga Strategies were involved in field operations for Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Wittman’s election campaign in 2021.
Turini’s campaign finance report lists two donations from Wittman during the reporting period. One donation was for $100 but the other box was left blank. Wittman’s husband Rickey also donated $100 to Thomas’ campaign.
The finance reports also show that Thomas’ campaign has been primarily funded by money from outside Dacono. Conversely, Turini has been largely self-funding his campaign.
One of the largest donations listed on Thomas’ report is for $2,500 from Jordan Deriso, who is Thomas’ nephew and is listed as the Executive Director for the Gator Wilderness Camp School in Punta Gorda, Florida. That donation alone accounted for 54% of the total Thomas raised during the reporting period.
“As I’m sure our community understands, in our family, when one needs help, others reach out to help however they can,” Thomas told YS in an email.
The most recent tax documents for Gator Wilderness described it as a reform school for boys aged 11 to 15 years who “struggle to interpret a myriad of issues in their families, schools, and communities,” according to the tax documents. The school also offers reading tutoring through the Charlotte County, Florida school district.
While in the camp, the boys “plan and build their own living structures” build their own homes, plan canoe trips in remote locations, and receive “daily instruction on the value of structure in one’s life,” the documents say.
Read Journalist Robert Davis previous coverage on Dacono’s political troubles currently taking place.