Utah Republicans have raised three times more money over the past 18 months than the Democrats, the parties' financial disclosures show.

But considering that Republicans outnumber Democrats in Utah, that may not be too surprising.The Republican's ability to raise money isn't limited to just Utah, however. Federal Election Commission reports also show that nationally, Republicans have raised three times as much as Democrats over the same time period, even though Republicans are the minority party nationwide.

In Utah, it's been the Republican's ability to get the big contribution that has helped the most. Reports filed with the lieutenant governor's office show that from January 1987 to June 1988, the Utah GOP raised $430,625.16.

In contrast, over the same period the Utah Democratic Party raised only $139,362.

Nationally, between January 1987 and March 1988, Republicans raised $97.2 million. Over the same time, Democrats raised just $29.3 million.

Of the $430,600 raised by Utah Republicans, all but $4,889.36 came in contributions of at least $50. Most were gifts of $1,000 or $300, said Craig Moody, state GOP chairman.

"The $1,000 contribution is our Governor's Club. It's our really big fund-raiser. The $300 is our Key Club," he said. Governor's Club members meet regularly with Gov. Norm Bangerter to talk about state issues.

The report listing the $50 and over contributions is about a quarter-inch thick, and makes up the $425,735 bulk of the Republican fund raising. The report with the $4,889 in under $50 contributions is four inches thick.

"Those (the $4,889 in small contributions) are basically coming from our direct mail fund raising," said Moody. Three or five times a year, the Republicans mail out letters to previous donors asking for money.

While the Republicans go for large individual contributions, the Democrats use a different philosophy in raising money. "We don't have the numbers the Republicans have, and we aren't as rich," said Randy Horiuchi, Democratic state chairman.

Democrats instead pool their resources, combining with the Association of State Democratic Chairmen in a Dollars for Democrats telephone solicitation in several states and a Democratic Victory Fund direct mail offering handled by the National Democratic Committee.

The Dollars for Democrats brought in $25,743 for the state party during the past 18 months; the Victory Fund only $2,963.

Democrats also emphasize the check-a-buck box on state income tax returns, which gives a dollar to the party of your choice. But the check-a-buck program brought the Democrats only $14,724 in the last 18 months. "That's down for us, and has been dwindling for years," Horiuchi said.

Finally, the Democrats hold a Legislative Ball, a yearly fund-raising event held during the Legislature. That brought in $62,651.

Republicans raised $39,369 through check-a-buck, and GOP Executive Director Greg Hopkins said that number has increased slightly in recent years. "Still, that's not a biggie for us."

Speaking in general numbers, Hopkins said Republicans raised about $40,000 each year at their Summer Celebration fund-raiser held during the state GOP convention, $175,000 through the Governor's Club and $50,000-$60,000 through their direct mail campaign.

Both parties have already spent most of their money. The Republicans had only $9,068 in cash on hand July 1; the Democrats had $26,429 in cash.

Fund raising is desperate now, for both parties are conducting expensive statewide voter canvasses. The Republicans may buy into a GOP telephone list compiled by Ogden's NICE corp. for $60,000. Whether they do or don't, they're still going forward with updating GOP voter lists in the five major counties in the state, said Moody.

Horiuchi will spend $125,000-$175,000 on a Democratic voter canvass. "Our big-name candidates will raise most of that and contribute it to the party. The party will raise $50,000-$75,000 itself."

How well the national party does in fund raising is important to the local chapters, too. FEC reports show that the national Republican fund raising groups gave 20 times as much money to local parties and candidates than the national Democrats did.