Thirty-three dollars can buy admission to Disneyland plus lunch. Or it can buy a nice dinner out for two. It's also how much Utah's U.S. Senate candidates may spend per vote in Tuesday's primary.
Their disclosure forms - including some last-minute updates filed as late as Friday with the secretary of the Senate - show the four candidates have spent at least $8.27 million so far.The last time Utah had a primary in a major statewide race involving candidates from both parties was 1984, when just under 250,000 people voted. If the same number vote Tuesday, the Senate candidates would have spent just over $33 a vote.
The four candidates - who have all said reducing federal spending is a priority - have spent near record amounts for advertising, and three of the multimillionaires running for office have spent money on such unexpected items as parking tickets.
Republican Joe Cannon's campaign paid out the most overall: $4.12 million (or about $16.48 per expected vote - almost enough for admission for each expected voter to Utah's Lagoon amusement park).
Next highest was Republican Robert Bennett's campaign, which spent $1.68 million (or about $6.72 a vote - or enough for an early discount movie and popcorn).
Democrat Doug Anderson's campaign spent $1.46 million (or about $5.84 - enough for an early movie and a candy bar).
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, spent $1.02 million (or $4.08 a person - enough to rent a couple of movies at video store.)
Much of the money has been going to advertising, as anyone paying attention to TV, radio, billboards or the occasional hot-air balloon passing by would know.
Cannon's forms indicate he has spent more than $1.79 million on advertising - including $41,837 so far for use of a hot-air balloon with his name on the side. The amount for just the balloon approaches the $51,893 that Republican congressional candidate Jim Bartleson has spent on his entire campaign.
Among others, Bennett has spent at least $617,734 on advertising; Anderson, $587,675; and Owens, $308,548. The figures may not exactly compare apples to apples, because what some candidates list as advertising may be listed by other candidates in other categories.
Cannon also listed huge expenses for polling: at least $628,247 (about $2.50 per expected voter - or enough to send 13 postcards to each). Owens spent at least $69,243 on polling, and Anderson spent at least $17,700.
Candidates have also been spending money in some non-traditional ways. For example in the last reporting period, the campaigns of each of the three multimillionaires in the race paid off parking tickets - all to Salt Lake City.
Bennett's campaign paid a total of $154 in parking tickets; Cannon, $25; and Anderson, $17. Bennett and Anderson clearly listed their payments as parking tickets, but Cannon listed his as a "vehicle expense" on disclosure forms and aides later confirmed it was for a ticket.
Of some interest, if Owens' campaign is on time and well-organized, forms show it may have to give some of the credit to Bennett. It spent $239 to buy Franklin day planners for its staff. Bennett is the former chief executive officer of Franklin.
And while Napoleon said an army travels on its stomach, the Senate candidates are showing that their campaigns do, too. Cannon spent $118,977 on food and catering; Bennett, $78,822; Owens, 24,300; and Anderson, $12,958.
And the candidates have been spending plenty on their armies, or staffs. Cannon has paid at least $595,055 for his payroll; Anderson, $214,880; Bennett, $171,091; and Owens, $182,972.
Cannon, Bennett and Anderson are supplying the lion's share of their money out of their own pockets, and Owens is obtaining much of his money from the political action committees of special interests.
Cannon provided $4.9 million of his total $5.24 million raised through personal loans and donations. Bennett donated nearly $1.7 million of the $1.77 million he raised. And Anderson loaned his campaign nearly $1.4 million of the $1.51 million he raised.
Owens has donated no money to his own campaign. He has received $396,707 from PACs and $747,737 from individual donors.