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IS ORTON WIN INCUMBENT ON HIS FUNDS?

SHARE IS ORTON WIN INCUMBENT ON HIS FUNDS?

To help keep up with heavy spending by his multimillionaire opponent Chris Cannon, Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, is now doing something almost unheard of for an incumbent: providing his own money to his re-election campaign.

At least, sort of.Orton provided $10,000 to his campaign Friday, according to forms filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission. (Donations and loans larger than $1,000 made in the final 12 days before an election must be reported to the FEC within 48 hours.)

But that wasn't exactly money out of Orton's own savings. He had received $10,000 in donations to help retire old debts he had from his first race in 1990. Instead of keeping it, he provided it to the campaign, said deputy campaign manager Jenny Wilson.

Incumbents almost never have to use their own money for campaigns because usually they can raise most of what they need from special interest political action committees and from individuals. Unproven challengers have a tougher time proving to such sources that they are viable.

Still, forms show Cannon has raised three times as much money as Orton - thanks almost entirely to the large amounts he is providing himself.

Cannon, a venture capitalist, has loaned his campaign $1,375,883 - or 86 percent of the $1.6 million he has raised. That includes last-minute loans totaling $204,000 that he made Thursday and Friday.

In contrast, Orton has provided his campaign only 1.8 percent of the $545,335 it has raised during the two-year election cycle.

Wilson said the $10,000 that Orton provided helped ensure the campaign could cover a $90,000 media advertisement buy that the campaign ordered last week.

She added that the campaign feels it is in good shape despite being outspent by Cannon, saying much of Cannon's money was spent early to build name recognition to survive the GOP convention and primary.

Wilson also said this is the most expensive campaign Orton has ever run. "Last time we spent around $300,000," she said. "This time it will be more than $500,000."

Orton and Cannon aren't alone in digging into their own pockets to help pay for their last week of campaigning.

Forms show 2nd District Republican Merrill Cook donated $137,000 to his campaign during the past week. He has now given it a total of $804,547 (or 87 percent of the $928,656 total he has raised).

His opponent, Democrat Ross Anderson, loaned his campaign another $8,000. He has now provided it $31,025 (or 8.6 percent) of the $359,031 he has raised, according to disclosure forms.

Neither 1st District candidate reported giving himself any last-minute cash. Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has not himself provided any of the $227,908 he reported raising so far. Democrat Greg Sanders reported earlier providing himself $14,505 (or 26 percent) of the $55,817 he has raised.