Some fascinating nuggets were hidden in the latest, bulky campaign financial disclosure forms filed by Utah congressional candidates. Here's a list of my favorite 10.
Nugget No. 10: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah - a nonsmoking, nondrinking Mormon - received $7,500 from cigarette, beer and alcohol groups in 1993 and 1994. How much do they give their friends?Nugget No. 9: Republican 2nd District House candidate Enid Greene Waldholtz must have read the old license-plate slogan, "You have a friend in Pennsylvania."
Forms show that one of every five dollars she raised has come from Pennsylvania - $23,850 of $109,363. Her new husband, Joe Waldholtz, was a Republican activist in Pennsylvania - and they solicited money from many of his old contacts.
Nugget No. 8: Independent 2nd District House candidate Merrill Cook has raised $22,551. But $20,000 of it came from his own pocket. And $2,000 came from his parents. That's not exactly a wide base of financial support.
Nugget No. 7: Special-interest PACs love Utah's incumbents. PACs gave $1.11 million this election cycle to the four facing re-election - half of all money they have raised.
Hatch received $878,556 from them, 49 percent of his total. Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, received $44,550 or 63 percent of his total. Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, received $92,242 or 82 percent of his total. Rep. Karen Shepherd, D-Utah (who has fought to restrict PACs), received $97,955 or 38 percent of her total.
Nugget No. 6: PACs are ignoring challengers in Utah congressional races. Only one of the 24 total challengers reported any PAC money at all. Democratic 1st District House candidate Bobbie Coray received $2,600 in such money.
Nugget No. 5: Pro-choice groups on abortion put their money where their mouths are. They donated $68,715 so far to Shepherd, the only pro-choice member of Utah's delegation. That was 27 percent of all the money she has raised.
Nugget No. 4 - Challengers have raised so little money so far that they couldn't even cover some incumbents' routine expenses. In fact, 19 of the 24 challengers didn't even file campaign disclosure reports because they have yet to raise or spend $5,000.
Republican 2nd District House candidate Jim Foley reported raising $1,819. That's about how much Hatch's campaign spent on flowers - $2,291. Republican 3rd District House candidate Dixie Thompson raised $12,837 - about the $13,000 that Hatch's campaign paid in rent the first four months this year.
Cook's $22,552 was about the same that Hatch's campaign spent on travel so far - $21,400. The $48,245 raised by Coray was about the same Hatch spent on computers so far - $44,026. And the $109,363 raised by Waldholtz was only two-thirds the $179,097 that Hatch spent on payroll so far in 1993 and 1994.
Nugget No. 3: The combined $194,816 all the challengers report raising so far doesn't even amount to half the $409,204 that Hatch has spent just on fund raising.
Nugget No. 2: Hatch has raised nearly three times more than all other Utah federal candidates combined. He raised $1.78 million, while everyone else combined raised $632,299.
Nugget No. 1: Despite advantages for incumbents, Coray raised more money the first quarter this year than did Hansen - $48,245 to $38,850. It may be a sign of an unexpectedly good race there.
While polls show that Coray - the Cache County economic development director and one-time running mate of former gubernatorial candidate Pat Shea - is largely unknown, she seems to be raising enough to get her message out soon.
However, she seems to have already received money from most major Democratic donors in the state. She may have trouble keeping up her fund-raising pace unless she can attract attention from out-of-state PACs and Democratic groups.
The good fund-raising start should help her do that. But it will likely also scare Republican groups into picking up the pace with donations to Hansen.