While Senate and House candidates fight for Utah votes, the lion's share of their money is coming either from out of state or their own wallets.
That suggests that in this year when numerous big, close races are fighting for limited political donations, Utah candidates either have to be wealthy or depend on outside interests to raise enough money for serious campaigns. For example:- Only 10 percent of the money raised by Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, can be identified as coming from Utah - $119,830 of $1.35 million. Owens raised more than twice as much ($289,702) in New York alone, according to Federal Election Commission forms through Oct. 15.
- Owens' Senate race opponent, multimillionaire Republican Bob Bennett, has himself contributed 91 percent of his own money: $2.2 million out of $2.4 million. Likewise, 2nd District Republican Enid Greene gave $57,257 to her campaign, which was more than the $52,975 given by fellow Utahns through the Oct. 15 reports.
- Among those receiving most of their identifiable donations from out of state were incumbent Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, (81.2 percent); 1st District Democrat Ron Holt (87.5 percent); and 2nd District Democrat Karen Shepherd (75.9 percent).
- 3rd District Republican Richard Harrington is the only House or Senate candidate that receives most his funding from fellow Utahns, but his campaign is deeply underfinanced and raised the least of any: just $45,686.
(The exact amount Harrington received in-state is difficult to determine. He failed to disclose as required by law which PACs gave him money and how much. He promised to amend his campaign disclosure reports and send such information to the Deseret News but did not do so before newspaper deadlines).
The situation allows candidates to either charge that opponents are too beholding to unsavory outside groups, or that they are trying to buy elections with their own money.
For example, Greene attacks Shepherd for heavy reliance on outside groups, including receiving more than $50,000 from out-of-state pro-choice groups.
"It shows where Karen's priorities are. She's being financed by people in New York and California who have a much different political agenda than people in this state," Greene said, adding she donated heavily to her own race "to respond to what outside groups are allowing Karen to say."
Shepherd responded, "I'm not a career politician - but she (Greene) is - and I don't owe any group. I can't imagine not voting my conscience because of money. It never has happened and never will." She added that Greene takes much money from business interests she feels have poor environmental records.
Shepherd also said she receives more in-state money than the Deseret News found in records. Candidates must reveal the names of all political action committees and those donors who give more than $200. Shepherd said most of her smaller donors (whose names are not revealed on forms) come from Utah, and when they are added in, she gets about half her money from the state.
Another who attacks his opponent for influence of outside groups is Holt. He said Hansen's years as an incumbent helped him raise a whopping $109,576 from special-interest political action committees (more than twice Holt's overall total). He says most such groups often ignore challengers.
"He voted against campaign reform that would give challengers a better chance," Holt said, adding that Hansen (who is on the Armed Services Committee) receives heavy donations from defense contractors and received $1,000 from an oil company that was a major backer of the controversial Kern River pipeline.
Hansen's campaign manager, his son, Paul Hansen, said most PACs donating to his father do so because they like his voting record and his pro-business stances. He said his father is not beholding to them, and votes his mind. He says many of them also may have addresses out of state, but represent people and companies within the state.
One who attacks his opponent for spending too much of his own money is Owens. His press secretary, Art Kingdom, said it is impossible for Owens to keep up with the millions that Bennett is spending.
"It's unbelievable the amount of money he is spending. For example, they have different firms calling people in `polls' to see what they think of Wayne. Then they send a brochure (that they think will upset Owens supporters) . . . . Then they even call back later to see what they think and ask them more questions that would dissuade them from supporting Wayne," Kingdom said.
"Every penny we raise has to go to fight such things," he said.
Bennett has said he too had to spend more than he planned in the primary to keep up with Cannon, but has said he is on target for spending plans in the general election.
And spokeswoman, Kimberly Pyper, also said Owens' heavy financing from out-of-state labor groups show where his loyalties lie.
All candidates agree on one thing: raising money this year has been more difficult than any imagined, which has pushed them more to outside groups or their own money.
For example, Greene says, "I call our race the `step-daughter race,' because it doesn't get as much attention as the Senate or governor's race. Also, the governor's race has no federal restrictions on how much money people can give, so they give as much as they want. After tight primary and convention races for governor, there isn't a lot left over for us.
"We're finding that donors who traditionally write $1,000 checks are maybe giving $250."
Shepherd said she has also found in fund-raising that she did for the University of Utah, that out-of-state alumni there always donated more. "Maybe it's because of lower cost-of-living and wages here. But we've found political donations from in the state also tend to be lower."
This is where Utah campaign financing comes from.
Utah Out of Own Total
Donors* State Wallet
Bennett $68,449 $140,890 2,200,000 $2,400,000
Owens $119,830 $992,025 $0 1,400,000
1st District House
Hansen $27,850 $119,951 $0 $168,515
Holt $3,500 $24,450 $5,963 46,769
2nd District House
Greene $52,975 $33,550 $57,257 $167,267
Shepherd $69,420 $220,320 $914 463,802
3rd District House
Harrington* $23,600 to $1,500 to $0 $45,686
Orton $15,525 $195,944 $0 220,969
*Includes contributions from individuals of more than $100 and from political action committees.
**Harrington failed to reveal, as required by law, necessary information on contributions from political action committees. He also failed to deliver a list to the Deseret News. Amounts shown are possible ranges.
Source: Federal Election Commission