National special interest groups supporting 3rd District Congressman John Curtis for U.S. Senate have spent over $2 million in the last two weeks to oppose one of his rivals, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs.

By law, PACs cannot coordinate with campaigns on expenditures, including advertisements. But following how these groups spend can shed light on the state of the race.

The last minute flood of attack ads comes just days before the June 25 Republican primary election to replace Sen. Mitt Romney.

Utah’s two additional GOP Senate hopefuls, former Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson and Moxie Pest Control CEO Jason Walton, appear to not have received any PAC expenditures, for or against their campaigns, in the month leading up to the primary election.

Staggs gets attacked

Beginning on June 14, four days after the first and only Senate primary debate, Conservative Values for Utah PAC — which endorsed Curtis even before he announced his Senate campaign — announced its first opposing expenditure of the election cycle, targeted at Staggs.

A day later, Defend American Jobs, a Silicon-Valley-funded PAC, launched a $1.2 million ad buy in opposition to Staggs. The group has spent $15 million to help candidates in federal elections across the country, including roughly $3.5 million to support Curtis, according to FEC filings. But the only money they have spent against a candidate so far is $1.5 million to oppose Staggs.

The remaining $550,000 in PAC spending against Staggs has come from Conservative Values for Utah, which spent more than $725,000 to support Curtis in the weeks leading up to the election out of more than $5.3 million this election cycle. The group was created in October 2023, shortly before releasing an ad to convince Curtis to reconsider swapping a House reelection bid for a Senate one.

Among the several donations Conservative Values for Utah has received, the largest was from North Carolina native Jay Faison, the head of a conservative clean energy group, while another came from Robert Walton, one of Walmart founder Sam Walton’s heirs.

Faison’s ClearPath Action Fund, American Conservation Coalition PAC, and EDF Action Votes — all with an emphasis on clean energy and environmental sustainability — have spent a combined total of nearly $310,000 to support Curtis since the end of May.

In the 30 days preceding the primary, Staggs has received supportive expenditures from PACs totaling more than $890,000. The vast majority has come from the Protect Freedom PAC, which is aligned with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has endorsed Staggs. The PAC is largely funded by billionaire Wall Street trader Jeff Yass. Staggs’ additional PAC support comes from the Beehive Values PAC, started in November, that is mostly funded by Samer Salih, who owns Dalia Real Estate, a Utah-based commercial real estate company.

Between Curtis and Staggs, at least $7.5 million in outside money has entered the U.S. Senate race in Utah in the month leading up to the primary election on Tuesday.

Who has the most money in Utah’s Senate race?


Staggs was the first to officially declare his intent to run for U.S. Senate in Utah. In April, he won the GOP nominating convention, capturing 70% of delegates’ votes hours after receiving the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Curtis currently leads the race in terms of fundraising and polling. The congressman raised nearly $610,000 between April and June with more than $575,000 left on hand, according to his pre-primary Federal Election Commission report. During the same window, Staggs raised just shy of $260,000 with more than $375,000 in cash on hand, his report showed.

A Deseret News-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll conducted in early June found Curtis ahead of Staggs 34% to 16%, with 33% of voters saying they were unsure.

Wilson and Walton trailed with 12% and 4%, respectively. Walton raised less than $40,000 in the pre-primary filing period and Wilson raised less than $30,000. At the time, Wilson had more than $550,000 left in his campaign coffers and Walton had $260,000. Both candidates loaned their respective campaigns at least $2.5 million during the election cycle.

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