Republicans Genevieve Atwood and Karl Snow lost more than just their congressional races last month; they also each lost tens of thousands of dollars of their own money.
Their after-election reports to the Federal Election Commission show that Atwood loaned her campaign $145,000, but it has paid back only $25,000. That means she's out $120,000 - or roughly the annual salary of a member of Congress.Snow loaned his campaign $36,050. Forms show $2,000 of it has been repaid. Also, Snow's campaign gave him a $3,000 "subsistence payment" for his living expenses last July. So he is out of pocket $31,050 from the campaign.
Losing large portions of personal fortunes was not limited to Republicans or losers. Victorious Rep.-elect Bill Orton, D-Utah, also loaned his campaign $35,000, which it has not repaid yet.
But winners normally are able to retire such campaign debts over time, finding that political action committees and others are more willing to donate once they have proved themselves as winners. Losers have no such luck.
The other non-incumbent, major-party candidate to run last month, Democrat Kenley Brunsdale, managed to pay off a $3,000 loan made by his wife. The only money then that Brunsdale spent on his own campaign was $570 in non-refundable contributions.
The two Utah incumbents in House races, Democrat Wayne Owens and Republican Jim Hansen, spent none of their own money on their races - and ran campaigns much more expensive than their opponents' with the help of heavy donations from special interests.
Reports show, for example, that Owens spent $909,962 on operating expenses - about 2.5 times as much as Atwood's $370,684, and maybe the single-most expensive House campaign in Utah history.
Owens raised $845,678 in contributions, with 50 percent of it - or $420,783 - coming from special-interest political action committees. (His campaign lists $9,155 in debts and has $4,165 in cash on hand). Atwood raised $262,619 in contributions, with $82,801 - or 32 percent - from PACs. (She still owes $120,000 to herself, and the campaign has $12,988 in cash on hand. During a debate with Owens before the election, Atwood said she and her father invested $30,000 in the stock market 20 years ago, and that money has grown to $300,000 - from which she borrowed for her campaign.)
Hansen spent $179,068 on operating expenses - 11/2 times more than the $119,815 spent by his opponent, Brunsdale.
Hansen raised $224,904 in contributions, with $141,501 - or 63 percent - coming from PACs. He has no campaign debts and has $55,518 left over and available for future campaigns.Brunsdale raised $106,496 in contributions, with $66,850 - or 63 percent - coming from PACs. He lists outstanding debts at $1,259 and has $4,096 cash on hand.
In Utah's 3rd District race for the open seat left by retiring Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, unsuccessful Republican Snow actually spent more money than incumbent Hansen did in his race.
Snow spent $281,432 in operating expenses and reports additional debt of $65,204 (including the $34,050 he owes himself for loans). Orton reports spending $41,317, with a debt of $60,245 remaining (including $35,000 to himself) - but he still has $22,536 in cash on hand.
Orton raised $28,537 in contributions, including $21,500 - or 75 percent - from PACs. Snow raised $247,500 in contributions, including $107,091 - or 43 percent - from PACs.
Retiring Rep. Nielson said he knows how candidates who spent much of their own money feel. "For a year after I was first elected (in 1982), my wife and I didn't have a car in Washington. We couldn't afford it. Some of my opponents in that race still haven't recovered (financially) from it."
From their own pockets
Some congressional candiates spent considerable sums of their own money on 1990 campaigns and have not recovered it:
Genevieve Atwood GOP loser $120,000
Karl Snow GOP loser 36,050
Bill Orton Demo winner 35,000
Kenley Brunsdale Demo loser 570
Rep. Wayne Owens Demo re-elected 0
Rep. Jim Hansen GOP re-elected 0