The campaign committees for five of the six finalists in U.S. House races in Utah last year are still in debt - in some cases whopping, huge debt.
For example, year-end reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show:- The committee of newly elected Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, has a debt of $66,164. That comes even though he spent only $88,237 on the campaign.
- The committee of Orton's Republican opponent, Karl Snow, has an overall debt of $55,659. Snow spent $287,184 on his campaign.
- Democrat Kenley Brunsdale, who ran against Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, had an overall debt of $4,214. His campaign cost $124,387.
- Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, had an overall debt at the end of the year of $7,698 after waging probably the most expensive House race in Utah history at $913,529.
- Owens' opponent, Republican Genevieve Atwood, did not have a year-end report on file at the FEC. But her post-election report in November listed an overall campaign debt of $107,012 after her campaign cost $370,684.
Only Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, came through the 1990 campaign with a surplus - $41,944 after waging a $194,844 race.
At least for Orton and Atwood, most of the money that their campaigns owe is to themselves and not others. Both are relatively wealthy and used personal funds heavily.
Atwood loaned her campaign $120,000 - which reports said had not been repaid, although the campaign had $12,988 of cash on hand. Orton loaned his campaign $63,964, which it has not repaid.
Meanwhile, Snow owes not only himself but also many others money.
Reports showed he loaned his campaign $7,050 from personal funds. He also personally guaranteed loans from Zion National Bank for another $32,500. He also guaranteed another $1,000 loan from Raymond Beckham (who ran for Congress in 1982), and another $1,000 loan from Provo resident Mary Killian.
That means Snow's campaign owes $41,550 in loans to himself and others. It also owes another $17,411 in bills to a variety of companies and individuals for advertising, printing, car rental, polling and consulting fees.
Snow also ended up donating $1,331 to his campaign after the election to help pay off its debts.
Snow, amazingly, has been able to attract more donations after the election so far to retire his debt than has Orton, the winner. Not counting the money Snow gave his campaign, he raised $5,778 in donations. Orton raised $4,010 - but as the winner should over time easily be able to raise enough money to retire his debt while Snow will likely find that difficult.
Loser Brunsdale has been able to raise only $1,020 after the election to help erase his relatively small debt - and all but $20 of that came from Utah millionaire Ian Cumming, who is known for his support of local Democrats.
Meanwhile, Hansen raised $2,475 after the election to add to his campaign surplus - with $1,750 coming from political action committees of special interests.
That included $500 from the PAC for the Williams Companies of Tulsa, Okla., which are co-owners of the Kern River Gas Transmission Co. It is seeking to build a controversial gas line that would pass through Davis County - where many residents oppose it, and have criticized Hansen for not fighting it harder.
Hansen spokesman Peter Jenks said the campaign refunded that check three weeks ago because the pipeline "is a sensitive subject, and we felt it would be appropriate to not accept it at this time."
Owens has raised $9,640 since the election, with $2,000 of that from PACs - including the American Stores PAC, K mart PAC and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen PAC.