Here's a quick political quiz about famously Republican Utah: Which presidential candidate has raised more money from Utahns this election cycle, Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama?
Utahns have given more, actually much more, to Obama. For every $4 that McCain raises from Utahns, Obama raises almost $5.
Through the end of July, disclosure forms filed this week show Obama has raised $706,046 from Utahns. McCain reported raising $595,320 from them.
That means Obama has raised $110,000, or 19 percent, more than McCain.
So what in the name of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George Bush is going on here especially since McCain is not only a Republican but also from neighboring Arizona?
It appears that Obama supporters are truly enthused by his candidacy and are opening their wallets to show it. Meanwhile, Utah Republicans may be suffering donation fatigue from their heavy contributions to favorite-son Mitt Romney and have not been so free-flowing with cash to McCain after he beat Romney.
"It has to do with the incredible amount of enthusiasm for Obama in the Democratic base here in Utah, which is not as insignificant as you might think," said Theodore Cowan Jr., secretary of the grassroots Utah for Obama group.
Obama came to Utah one time for a fundraiser in Park City. "But we've had dozens of other fundraisers for him, including a lot of smaller house parties," Cowan said.
Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, adds, "Not unique to Utah, Obama has been the most successful presidential fundraiser in history. ... People who support Obama are eager to contribute, whether in small or large amounts."
He adds, "Unique to Utah, there is some donor fatigue here (among Republicans) because Utah donated more per person to Mitt Romney than any other person in history."
In fact, the $5.5 million that Romney raised in Utah is four times as much as Obama and McCain raised here combined.
A little-noticed fact is that McCain had his worst primary showing in Utah of any state he contested, where he received just 5 percent of the vote. It isn't that Utahns dislike him, it was that favorite-son Romney amassed an amazing 89 percent of the vote in that primary.
McCain trails Obama in fundraising here even though he personally attended one fundraiser here (with Romney at his side, no less), and President Bush also came to Utah to help raise funds for him.
After the upcoming party conventions, McCain has said he will choose to use public funding for that portion of his campaign. "So even if he chose Romney as his running mate, there would likely not be any time for him to overtake Obama" in Utah fundraising before the public financing portion of his campaign kicks in, Jowers said.
Still, Jowers figures McCain will easily win Utah in November, even if he does not win Utahns' money now.
"McCain should win Utah handily. If he doesn't, it will either be because it is a historic nationwide blowout for Obama, or because McCain decides to choose Mike Huckabee as his running mate," he said. Huckabee, of course, attracted the wrath of many Utahns for raising questions about Romney's LDS faith in the campaign.The McCain campaign did not return several phone calls seeking comment for this story.
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