Hatch spends millions on re-election campaign; Liljenquist dips into own pocket again

Published: Thursday, June 14 2012 4:59 p.m. MDT

Senator Orrin Hatch speaks to the media about Dan Liljenquist narrowly forcing him into a primary election at the Utah Republican Party 2012 Nominating Convention at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — More than half of U.S. Senate candidate Dan Liljenquist's campaign funds have come from his own bank account.

The Bountiful Republican loaned his campaign another $100,000, bringing his total personal contributions to $400,000, according to his latest Federal Election Commission financial disclosure report. The most recent loan accounts for a third the money he took in the past two months. He entered the race in January.

In all, Liljenquist has raised $778,363 in his effort to unseat six-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch. As of June 6, Liljenquist had spent $613,608 and had $163,725 on hand.

Hatch, meantime, has raised and spent more than 10 times that since being re-elected in 2006. From January 2007 to June 2012, he has raked in $10.5 million, including $3.9 million in PAC money, according to his FEC report. He spent nearly $2 million in the past two months alone and currently has about $1.9 million in the bank.

Both candidates are making their final pushes for voters as the June 26 primary election approaches. Early voting began Tuesday and continues through June 22. The winner faces former Democratic state Sen. Scott Howell in November.

Hatch and Liljenquist will meet Friday morning in their only one-on-one debate. The hourlong, commercial-free program on KSL Radio's "Doug Wright Show" begins at 9 a.m. It will be rebroadcast Saturday at 8 p.m.

Liljenquist said he knew from the outset he could not compete with Hatch financially. Injecting his own money into the campaign was always part of the plan, he said. Though he has had several television ads, he has mostly relied on grass-roots volunteers to knock on doors and make calls.

"We started into Election Day two weeks ago with mail-in ballots. That's why it's key to get out there and meet people. That's what we've been working on for months. We feel like we have good support," said Liljenquist, a former state senator.

Hatch anticipated having to spend on the state convention and the primary and general elections, said Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen.

"We spent a lot but we raised a lot, too," he said.

Hatch TV ads have run continuously for more than a month and will continue to do so, though with some changes, Hansen said.

"We're not taking anything for granted. We're certainly not coasting at all. We're pushing as hard as we have during the entire campaign," he said.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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