U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon has raised over 60 percent more money than his GOP challenger, Jason Chaffetz, since last month's Republican convention in preparation for their primary election on June 24, according to new disclosure forms.
Cannon is spending most of the campaign cash now, clearly taking Chaffetz's challenge seriously as the incumbent tries to win his seventh two-year term in Congress.
But Chaffetz, who almost eliminated Cannon in the May state convention, says he has enough money to run an "adequate" campaign before the primary, now just a week and a half away.
"I will be ultra-competitive. I will win this primary," Chaffetz said Thursday just before the pre-primary reporting deadline to the Federal Election Commission. Chaffetz has about $72,000 in cash to buy last-minute TV ads and pay for a direct-mail piece.
Cannon, who had a new mailer hit potential voters' doorsteps Thursday, has raised $675,000 over the last two years. Cannon survived the convention by a mere nine delegate votes and since then has raised nearly $130,000. But Cannon has only around $30,000 in cash.
"We have enough resources to do what we want to do" before the primary, said Ryan Frandsen, Cannon's campaign manager. "We are pretty pleased with our fundraising so far."
Chaffetz has raised slightly more than $78,500 since the Republican convention bringing his total to $171,000 for his campaign so far.
"I'm most proud of being debt-free and having more than 400 individual contributors many of them Utahns," said Chaffetz, the former chief of staff of GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
"Cannon has never been debt-free the whole time he's been in office. I refuse to borrow money and then ask lobbyists and other special interests to pay me back," said Chaffetz, who claims Cannon has been in office too long and is captured by the Washington, D.C., mind-set.
Chaffetz has given his campaign $9,995 this year but said it is a contribution and not a loan. He said he will not seek to be repaid through future contributions from others, especially from special interests.
Cannon, a millionaire from the days when he and his brother, Joe, (now the Deseret News' editor) bought and operated the old Geneva Steel mill in Utah County, lent his first 3rd District race around $1.5 million in 1996. In various re-elections since, Chris Cannon has lent his campaign more money. In 2006, he loaned his campaign nearly $140,000, FEC reports show.
But Cannon's latest filing shows he has not loaned his campaign any money this year.
Chaffetz said he is not surprised that Cannon has been part of a Congress that has greatly increased U.S. debt, considering that Cannon's own campaign has carried debt over the years.
Chaffetz received some money from anti-illegal immigration groups. Team America gave a total of $5,244 since the convention, and the U.S. Immigration Reform PAC gave $1,000. That's a total of $6,244 for the reporting period.
Banks gave significant money, $11,100 in the last reporting period, to Chaffetz. Most of that came from Zion's Bank. That included $7,000 from the Zions Bancorp PAC, $2,000 from Zion's president, A. Scott Anderson, and $1,000 from its chairman, Harris Simmons.
As is the case with most incumbents, much of Cannon's money is coming from political action committees of corporations and special interests. Chaffetz gets little PAC money, having to raise most of his from individuals. Cannon gets $9 out of $10 from PACs.
Some people like to bet on both sides. Blake Roney and Steven Lund of Nu Skin Enterprises, a multilevel marketing skin-care firm, each gave both candidates $2,300 apiece the maximum allowed in the last month. Chaffetz worked at Nu Skin for 11 years. Roney also gave money to David Leavitt, who was eliminated from the 3rd District race in the state convention. Roney and Lund also gave $2,000 each to Chaffetz a year ago.One note of interest: Cannon's latest filing shows he spent $8,700 on advertising, while he spent $41,177 on polling at three different organizations.