SALT LAKE CITY — Senate President-elect Wayne Niederhauser may finally be in a position to pay off what's left of the $140,000 loan he made to his campaign when he first won the Sandy-area seat in the Legislature a little more than six yeas ago.
Niederhauser said Thursday he still owes himself $60,000 from the 2006 race, after making a $20,000 payment to himself a year ago from his campaign account. Now that the Republican is the leader of the Senate, though, he expects to raise more money.
In his year-end financial disclosure report filed with the state Thursday, Niederhauser, who was elected president by the Senate's GOP majority shortly after the November general election, reported collecting almost $14,000 in contributions over the past two months.
"There's no question that had something to do with the leadership elections," he said.
Niederhauser only raised $100,000 of the $240,000 he spent in 2006 but had an easier race in 2010 and won't be up for re-election again until 2014.
He ended the year with contributions totaling more than $134,500 and spent nearly $88,000. Niederhauser's expenditures listed for the year include his $20,000 loan repayment to himself, as well as contributions to other Republican candidates.
Unlike House Speaker Becky Lockhart, who oversees three separate political action committees aimed at electing fellow Republicans, Niederhauser said he will make contributions to other GOP candidates from his own campaign account.
He said being able to offer that support is important to him.
"It's tough. I've been there. In 2006, I knew how hard it was to raise dollars," said Niederhauser, a CPA and head of a real estate development firm. "I'm not one who wanted to be using that just for myself. I think it's good to be able to help."
In 2006, Niederhauser faced a tough fight at the state GOP convention and a hotly contested primary against Bryson Garbett before having to battle a strong Democratic candidate, Trisha Beck, in the general eleciton.
The race to replace then-retiring Senate President Al Mansell ended up being one of Utah's most costly legislative battles.
"I didn't sign up to run an expensive race, but when you're in the middle of it, that's what you do," Niederhauser said. "If I knew it was going to cost that much and I would have to pay $140,000 out of my own pocket, I probably would have declined."
Outgoing Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, who did not seek re-election, reported a total of $152,147 in contributions in his campaign account at the end of 2012, and a balance of more than $119,000.
Lockhart, who was re-elected to a second term as speaker in November, reported more than $80,000 in her campaign account at the end of 2012, and a balance of more than $66,000.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company