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Herbert expects nearly $1.3 million from fundraising

Published: Monday, Nov. 7 2011 6:46 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert expects to raise just under $1.3 million from his annual fundraiser to be held later this week, his campaign manager said Monday.

"It's a huge number," said Liv Moffat, who's running Herbert's 2012 reelection bid, his second election in two years.

Sponsorships to the "Governor's Gala," set to be held Friday evening at the Salt Palace and feature both a tribute to veterans and movies filmed in Utah, range from $5,000 to $25,000. Individual tickets cost $500.

But unlike his 2010 race, a list of who's giving to the governor isn't being posted on his campaign website, garyherbert.com.

"It's just a logistics decision," Moffat said. "We're not hiding anything."

Because the campaign may be hiring a new company to manage its website, the contributor list likely won't appear there until early next year, she said.

In his last campaign, Herbert began voluntarily disclosing his contributions within days of receipt in October 2009. An opponent of contribution limits, the governor favors disclosure within 48 hours. State law gives candidates up to 30 days.

The governor said the public should be able to consider "who's supporting whom and whether that causes them to have a pause on whether they should support that candidate," during his October news conference on KUED.

Moffat said the campaign has been keeping with all the state requirements. "We feel like the reporting in 30 days with the state is more than adequate, more than enough," she said.

The state Elections Office website currently lists contributions totaling more than $609,000 to Herbert's campaign since June. It appears that Jon Huntsman Sr., Deseret Power and Kem Gardner each gave $25,000.

Moffat said the goal for Friday's event was to top the $1 million Herbert's 2009 gala raised shortly after he took over the office from former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China.

Because of a change in the state constitution, Herbert had to run in 2010 for the remainder of Huntsman's term. He faced a tough challenge from Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat.

Much of that campaign focused on questions raised about the connection between Herbert's campaign contributors and the award of state contracts, particularly the record $1 billon-plus rebuild of I-15 through Utah County. The state quietly paid out a $13 million settlement last year to one of the losing bid teams for the project.

Herbert received more than $80,000 from members of the winning bid team, including $50,000 for a top-level sponsorship of his 2009 gala fundraiser. Amid the questions, the governor lowered the level of sponsorships for his 2010 gala and raised about $700,000.

So far this election, Herbert is unopposed. But several Republicans are said to be eyeing the race, including Morgan Philpot, who nearly defeated 2nd District Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, in 2010.

Matheson said Monday he is still considering challenging Herbert. He said he is also looking at running for reelection to Congress, either in the 2nd District or the state's new 4th District. Matheson recently ruled out running for Senate against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com, Twitter: dnewspolitics

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