Money is the mother's milk of politics. Without it, you don't grow as a candidate.
Money doesn't solve everything, true. It can't make a good candidate out of a bad one. But just try running for governor or U.S. senator without it.In 1988, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised $4.5 million and spent $4.2 million getting re-elected. His Democratic opponent, Brian Moss - considered a credible candidate - raised and spent $153,000. Hatch destroyed Moss in the election, 67-32 percent.
With Sen. Jake Garn getting out of the 1992 U.S. Senate race, money is much discussed these early days among people considering running for his seat.
Doug Anderson and Nolan Karras are thinking about money, but from different perspectives.
Anderson, a Democrat with considerable financial worth, says he's definitely in the Senate race come what may - or more appropriately, come Scott Matheson Jr. or not.
Karras, a Republican, is still considering the race and worrying how he'll combat fellow Republican Joe Cannon and the money Cannon has at his disposal.
Anderson is an attractive candidate with little name identification among Utahns, even among Democrats. Anderson has made his money the past five years after starting an international management consulting firm.
Matheson, son of former Democratic Gov. Scott M. Matheson, is well-known - at least by name - to Utah voters and especially Democrats. A law professor at the University of Utah, Matheson certainly doesn't have the financial resources of Anderson.
Karras faces the opposite problem. As former speaker of the Utah House, he is known to many hard-core Republicans - although by fewer Utahns in general. His intra-party challenge would likely include Cannon, president of Geneva Steel, a man of considerable financial ability who has given generously to civic as well as political causes.
Karras is not poor. He makes a fine salary as chief executive officer of a multistate commercial heating/air conditioning firm. But he doesn't have the personal financial worth of Cannon.
Especially in federal races, early money is hard to come by. Political action committees, national party fund-raisers - even local party heavy-hitters - don't want to give money until the party's nominee is decided. What if you back the wrong horse? You just have to give again to the ultimate nominee and you've have wasted your first contribution. Thus, a candidate's personal wealth is a real factor in races likely to see a primary contest.
Just what can money buy in campaigns?
"Money can't buy you a convention battle," says Karras. "You can only do so much with money in that small arena, contact the delegates so many times, buy so many political consultants."
But money can buy you some good name identification among the general populace. And that's where Anderson plans to use it.
"I'm not going to be scared out of this race by anyone, Scott Matheson or no," he says. "I'll contribute enough (personal funds) to run a vigorous, aggressive primary campaign." How much is that, $100,000, $250,000?
"I'm simply not going to comment on an amount," said Anderson. Understandably, he says he doesn't want to make the same mistake Merrill Cook made in his 1985 Salt Lake mayoral race.
Cook, owner of a successful mining explosives firm, spent $500,000 of his own money in the race - and got publicly accused of trying to buy the mayor's seat. Cook lost, getting a lower percentage of the votes in the final election - after much bad publicity about his personal spending - than he got in the primary.
While Anderson says he won't be scared out of the Democratic nomination fight by a well-known opponent, Karras says he won't be scared out of a GOP Senate contest by Cannon's money.
"But you have to consider it. My problem isn't the convention - like I said, money can only do so much there. I have to think about the primary race. From June to September I have to run against his resources," Karras said.
"It's absurd to think you can buy a race," counters Anderson. "But money can be so easily misunderstood. You have to be careful (in talking about it). I can say this: Come primary election day, my name will be as well known as Scott Matheson's."
Whether Karras' name would be as well known as Cannon's is another matter, one potential candidates who have the money and those who don't will mull over as 1992 approaches.