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Gary Herbert, Peter Corroon piling up campaign cash

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though there's no primary in this year's special election for governor, both candidates are piling up campaign cash.

In reports filed with the state Tuesday, GOP Gov. Gary Herbert reported raising nearly $1.15 million, including almost $211,000 in the past two months.

Herbert's Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, has more than $620,000 in his campaign account. About $167,000 came in since his last filing in late April.

But Corroon's campaign said he also has about $309,000 available from his political action committee. Unlike Herbert, Corroon has yet to transfer money from his leadership PAC into his campaign account.

"We feel like this is going to be a very competitive race," said Corroon's campaign manager, Donald Dunn. "We're in striking distance of having the same amount of money in the bank."

Herbert's campaign manager, Joe Demma, said he's not worried.

"We're happy with the progress we're making and the pace we're at," Demma said. "We feel confident in our ability to keep outpacing the mayor, showing support not just in the polls but in where people are sending their money."

State GOP Chairman Dave Hansen questioned how Corroon is handling his campaign finances. The state requires PACs to report on a different schedule than candidates, so the next filing isn't due until this summer.

"He's not being totally honest, and he's trying to manipulate the figures," Hansen said of Corroon. "He's playing with the numbers."

Both Herbert and Corroon are regularly reporting their campaign contributions on their websites. Dunn said the contributions on Corroon's site include those made to his PAC.

Both candidates in the race to fill the remaining two years of former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s term have also been spending big bucks, too, since the beginning of the year.

Herbert, who easily defeated three largely unknown Republican challengers at the party's state convention last month, has spent nearly $355,000. Corroon had no intra-party opposition, but his expenditures totaled about $317,000.

Two legislative candidates appear to have missed Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline for filing their disclosure statements with Lt. Gov. Greg Bell's office, according to office administrator Mark Thomas.

Both Michael Wallentine, a Democrat running in House District 38, and Seth Robert Wright, a Republican in House District 26, now face disqualification from the November ballot.

Legislative candidates also are collecting plenty of money, although the cost of running for the state House or Senate typically hasn't exceeded $100,000 in past races.

Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, has already raised more than $50,000 and spent $17,000 against a Democratic opponent, Tyler Ayres, who reported contributions of just under $7,400.

And Brad Wilson, chief executive of Destination Homes, has spent $26,000 in a bid to win the GOP nomination for the House seat held by retiring House Majority Leader Doug Aagard, R-Kaysville. Wilson's fellow Republican, Jory Francis, who is also vying for the seat, has spent $9,000.

Contributing: Joe Dougherty