Republican gubernatorial hopeful Phil Lyman raised more money than any other candidate during the first few months of 2024, including incumbent Gov. Spencer Cox.

According to Lyman’s convention report — filed Tuesday in the 24-hour grace period after the document disclosing campaign contributions was due — Lyman has received a total of $825,916.48 in contributions since the beginning of the year.

A large portion of those funds came from a $420,000 loan from 2016 Texas congressional candidate turned Utah high school boys basketball coach Johnny Slavens, and two donations from Government Leadership Solutions, a Lehi-based business created in January that appears to have connections to Lyman.

Breaking down Lyman’s campaign contributions

Since January, Lyman, a current state representative from Blanding, received contributions from 225 individuals or organizations with an average donation size of over $3,600, totaling over $825,000.

Over half of those funds come from Slavens’ loan on Jan. 10. Slavens played football for Brigham Young University from 1997-98 and was a candidate in Texas’ 3rd Congressional District election in 2016. From 2022-23 he coached the San Juan High School boys basketball team.

Slavens told the Deseret News that he has known Lyman his whole life — they are both from the small town of Blanding, San Juan County. Slavens says he loaned Lyman’s campaign the money because he believes Lyman can win, and that Lyman can help turn the country around.

“It seems like the country in a lot of ways, especially under the presidency we have right now is just going in the wrong direction,” Slavens said. “Phil Lyman is one of the best people I know. And he can do for Utah what Ron DeSantis has done for Florida for sure. You’ll be shocked how much better Utah is with Phil Lyman as the governor.”

Another large portion of Lyman’s campaign contributions comes from Government Leadership Solutions, a business that was created on Jan. 10 of this year, the same day that Slavens’ loan was reported.

Three days later, Government Leadership Solutions donated $100,000 to Lyman’s campaign. The business donated another $200,000 on March 22, bringing the total amount donated to $300,000. The new business shares an address in Lehi with Lyman Family Farm, Inc., owned by members of Lyman’s family, and Greenwave Finance, both of which are run by Joseph Hunt.

In a statement to the Deseret News, Lyman did not comment on his connections to Government Leadership Solutions, instead pointing to a wide array of funding sources “from large donors to the grassroots.”

“After actively campaigning for months, I believe our campaign has the strongest momentum in the state. This momentum is reflected in our strong fundraising numbers that includes a broad range of supporters from large donors to the grassroots,” Lyman said. “I’m grateful to have close friends who admire my willingness to stand up for my principles. Our campaign is being run by a strong team of mostly volunteers, which means our resources are going to go further in a primary. Utahns are ready for a change, my vision is resonating with voters, and I’m grateful to the volunteers, supporters, and donors that are making this campaign possible.”

When asked about allegations that Government Leadership Solutions was created to funnel “dark money” to Lyman’s campaign, Slavens said, “With Phil it’s pretty obvious where all this money came from. And it’s obvious that the people that are donating just want privacy. … But they’re not buying anything. They have nothing to gain from it.”

Cox has large amount of cash on hand

Cox is running for his second term as Utah’s governor. He received over $150,000 in fundraising contributions in the first few months of 2024, and has $986,200 cash on hand.

Cox’s campaign received contributions from 74 individual people or organizations with an average donation size of nearly $2,100, the Deseret News previously reported. The largest donations came from Nomi Health ($25,000), the WCF Mutual Insurance Association ($15,000) and Phil Cox ($10,400).

Cox’s smaller haul for the first few months of 2024 are due to a blackout on fundraising during the legislative session, Matt Lusty told the Deseret News.

”The governor is legally prohibited from fundraising during almost the entire first quarter of the year. Recent third-party poll numbers from Morning Consult continue to show Gov. Cox in a strong position,” Lusty said. ”The governor is proud of his record leading the best managed state in the nation by delivering the largest tax cut in Utah history, protecting the sanctity of life, and standing with Texas in their efforts to defend our southern border.”