In the only statewide primary election next week, state treasurer candidate Mark Walker has outspent his fellow GOP opponent, Richard Ellis, by a 2-1 margin, campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show.
Meanwhile, some incumbents who have little opposition this year are still raking in the money mostly from special interest groups, an analysis by the Deseret News shows.
As expected, GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff are the fundraising kings among state candidates.
Huntsman has raised $260,500 and spent $246,000 from his campaign account. But before you say he's almost broke, the governor also has a political action committee that as of the first of the year (the last reporting period) had $220,000 in it. Since that report, Huntsman has both raised money in that PAC and has spent money out of it including giving tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign account, which was reported Tuesday.
Shurtleff doesn't have a PAC. So all of his fundraising and spending comes out of his campaign account, which was reported Tuesday. Shurtleff has raised $242,000 and spent $263,000 this year, the reports show. He still has more than $261,00 in the bank, mostly from fundraising in prior years.
Huntsman is opposed by Democrat Bob Springmeyer. Springmeyer's report shows he's raised $27,010 and spent $9,604. In other words, Springmeyer has raised only a tenth as much as Huntsman this year.
Shurtleff is opposed by Democrat Jean Hill. She raised only $28,400 and spent $6,150, her report shows. So she has raised only about 12 percent of what Shurtleff did.
Neither Shurtleff nor Hill was opposed within their own parties, so they didn't need to raise money for a convention or primary fight.
The treasurer's race is usually a sleeper. But the battle between Walker, a state House member from Sandy, and Ellis, the current chief deputy treasurer, has turned bitter and very political.
The Utah Supreme Court just last week declined to force Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert to rule on a complaint by Ellis that Walker illegally offered him a job and a pay raise should he drop out of the Republican race giving Walker the GOP nomination and most likely the seat in November.
Walker denies any wrongdoing, saying that Ellis is bringing up the "false" charge late in the race in hopes of harming Walker's candidacy.
The treasurer's race is the only statewide primary on June 24. But a third of the state will also participate in the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional district between Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, and Jason Chaffetz, Huntsman's former chief of staff.
There are final elections Tuesday in Jordan School District races. (Because of a split of the district, some seats must be decided this June.)
And some Republican and Democratic primaries will occur in some county council and commission races across the state. Voters may check their party registration status by going to elections.utah.gov, then clicking on "voter information Web site." That Web site also shows what candidates are on ballots.
Utah Republicans hold closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote in them. But "unaffiliated" voters who are not registered in any party can register as a Republican at the polling places Tuesday and pick up a Republican ballot.
The newspaper's analysis shows that Walker has raised $55,655 so far in his treasurer's race. He's spent $42,269, and has $13,386 left.
Ellis, meanwhile, has raised only slightly less than Walker, $51,982. But Ellis has spent only $27,385, leaving $24,597 in his campaign account.
Freshman state Rep. Paul Neuenschwander, R-Bountiful, is in a fundraising dog fight with his Republican primary challenger, Becky Edwards. Edwards has raised $25,000 and spent $20,075, while Neuenschwander has raised only $13,650 and spent $11,113, reports show.
In a race to succeed retiring Sen. Dan Eastman, R-Bountiful, one Republican is outspending his opponent by 10 times as much cash.
In Senate District 23, Dan Liljenquist has raised $41,740 and spent $40,280. His GOP opponent Ronald Mortensen has raised only $5,169 and spent $4,349.
Down in south central Utah, in the only Democratic legislative primary, Christine Watkins has outspent Grady McEvoy by a 3-1 margin. Watkins has spent $10,290 to McEvoy's $3,009, reports show.
In past years, GOP incumbent officeholders usually stayed out of intra-party fights, both in the party conventions and in primary elections.
Shurtleff and most legislative GOP leaders have stepped up behind Walker, leaving Ellis to complain that partisan politics, especially intra-Republican politics, shouldn't be played in the treasurers race where experience in investing billions of taxpayer dollars should be paramount.
And both Senate and House GOP leaders are giving money from their own campaign accounts and from their leadership political action committees to help not only incumbents, but Republican candidates they like.
For example, Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, has no challengers this year. Yet he has raised $36,000 and spent more than $39,000, among the highest such amounts for any candidates.
Valentine has given $1,000 each to three GOP Senate candidates this spring, including money to Liljenquist, even though Liljenquist has a GOP primary Tuesday.House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, does have a serious challenger in Democrat Jay Seegmiller in House District 49. Seegmiller lost to Curtis by just 20 votes in 2006. So far, Curtis has raised nearly $40,000 this year and spent $11,000. Seegmiller has raised $19,000 and spent just under $5,000. At the first of this year, Curtis had nearly $100,000 in his personal PAC, as well.