A look at the state's 'other' congressional races

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

McAleer has outraised Bishop since July, bringing in more than $120,000 in campaign contributions through the end of September with about $78,000 cash on hand. During the same quarter, Bishop collected nearly $67,000 and had some $60,000 available. 

The first-time candidate easily defeated a primary opponent, Ryan Combe, despite his strong family ties to the northern Utah district, and has continued to emphasize her varied life experience, including the unsuccessful bid to become an Olympic bobsledder that brought her to Utah.

Currently an author and a ski instructor, McAleer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She said her service in the Army and in both the private and public sectors have taught her "public service is about country, not politics." 

Bishop, a former Utah House speaker and high school history teacher, said his positions on the Armed Services and Public Lands committees in Congress, as well as his work promoting states rights through the 10th Amendment Taskforce, help the state.

He said he is proud of his votes to cuts taxes and eliminate wasteful spending.

"Experience and the right principles do make a difference, and that is why I'm running for re-election," the congressman said.

The pair have differing views on what needs to be done to deal with the nation's economic woes. Bishop said one of the best long-term moves is adopting a comprehensive energy policy, while McAleer called into question growth in national security spending.

Bishop said energy development provides resources "that are the backbone of our economy. Energy is a main way jobs can be created and people can work their way out of poverty, and it's a key to long-term growth."

McAleer said spending should be reviewed for the entire national security establishment, including the intelligence community, and the departments of both defense and homeland security.

"There seems to be duplicative and redundant organizational structures that increase cost and impedes effectiveness," she said. 

3rd District

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has spent much of this election year campaigning for Mitt Romney rather than for himself, touring the country and making appearances on behalf of the GOP presidential candidate.

The two-term congressman said his constituents support his making the defeat of President Barack Obama a priority.

"The best thing I can do for the state is fire Barack Obama," Chaffetz said, promising that with Romney in the White House, he would "be able to push things and get things done for Utah. My job is to become as influential as I can for the state of Utah, and I think this helps me achieve that."

His Democratic opponent, Salt Lake City Councilman Soren Simonsen, said he's ready to bring "a very independent voice" to Congress because of his experience on the non-partisan City Council where he has served since 2005.

Simonsen's campaign ran into some trouble recently when the Utah Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, claiming he had missed several deadlines for filing financial disclosures. 

An inexperienced campaign staff was blamed for the problem and Simonsen has filed a report this month showing he has raised just over $20,000, compared with the more than $750,000 Chaffetz has collected this election cycle.

The pair differ on many issues, including how to deal with the economic downturn.

Chaffetz said electing Romney is the top fix for the economy, followed by passing a responsible budget that eventually balances and pays down the debt."

Simonsen's top two fixes are tackling the national debt where the "largest area of waste and excess is in our military," followed by developing renewable energy technology and resources.

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