SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch who faces a tough re-election fight, is reporting raising nearly $1.3 million in the second quarter of 2011.
That's 10 times more than Hatch's likeliest opponent, Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz, a fellow Republican is reporting just over $123,000 in contributions between April 1 and June 30.
Hatch now has amassed almost $4.5 million for his bid to stay in a seat he's held since 1976. Chaffetz, first elected to the 3rd District congressional seat in 2008, has collected nearly $239,000.
"I'll be honest with you, we feel good," said Hatch's campaign manager, Dave Hansen. "The money is coming in very, very well."
The campaign was pleased enough with the numbers to release a summary of Hatch's quarterly disclosure statement to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, a day before it's due.
Hansen said it appears that Hatch has set a new record in Utah for fundraising in a single quarter. That should send a message to any potential challengers, he said.
"We have the resources. We have the organization. And we have the commitment," Hansen said. "It's going to be a very tough battle for anybody to take on Sen. Hatch."
Chaffetz, though, said he's got plenty of money should he decide to run for the Senate.
"If I run, it'll be a campaign about who can do more with less. We know Sen. Hatch is a big spender," Chaffetz said. "I'll have what I need to run an effective campaign."
He noted the first hurdle for GOP candidates is winning the votes of delegates to the party's state convention next year. It's the delegates who'll decide which candidate advances, either to the general election or a primary.
"No matter what office I run for, the convention does not require millions of dollars. We're talking about 3,500 people," Chaffetz said. "I know what I need to raise and what I need to have. It's roughly $500,000."
A general election race could be a different story, especially if the only Democratic member of Utah's Congressional delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson, decides to run.10 comments on this story
While a recent Deseret News/KSL poll put Hatch only slightly ahead of Chaffetz among likely voters in a GOP primary race, Matheson would tie either Republican in a general election.
Matheson has said he won't decide until later this year whether to run for the 2nd District again, or go after Hatch or even GOP Gov. Gary Herbert. His campaign said his quarterly report would not be made available early.
Chaffetz said should he be in a race with Matheson, he'd have no trouble raising cash as the GOP nominee.
"When you get to the general election, that will cost millions of dollars," he said. "I'm sure I'll be able to raise that."