SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Mia Love leads the race for congressional campaign cash among Utah's four U.S. House members, with nearly $915,000 on hand as of April 1, according to the latest federal filings.
That's more than the total cash available for the rest of the all-Republican group combined, with Rep. Rob Bishop reporting more than $475,000; Rep. Chris Stewart, nearly $355,000; and Rep. John Curtis, close to $56,000.
But the campaign for Love's likely Democratic opponent in November, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, said he'll report having nearly $864,000 on hand as of April 8 to the Federal Election Commission next week.
The FEC requires reports from Utah candidates two weeks before their political party's convention. For Republicans, the deadline for submission was Monday at midnight. For Democrats, the deadline is a week later.
"It's certainly going to be the most competitive race in the state," said Michael Barber, a BYU political science professor and a research fellow at the campus' Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.
The amount of money raised by McAdams "just indicates there's a lot of enthusiasm on the Democratic side this election cycle," Barber said. "I think it's going to make the Love campaign pretty nervous."
Love's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said he's not concerned.
"Traditionally, Mia has always raised a great deal of money through direct mail. That's one of the reasons she has so many donors," Hansen said. "But it costs a lot of money to raise money on direct mail."
He said the race will come down to how voters view what Love has done in office.
"Voters in the 4th District like the job she is doing. They like what she represents. They like the things she is fighting for. That's going to be the most important thing in this election, the job she is doing," Hansen said.
The two-term congresswoman has brought in more than $2.2 million this election cycle, including nearly $789,000 since the beginning of the year. But she began the year with about $576,000 on hand and spent nearly $450,000.
McAdams' campaign said he's collected more than $1 million since getting in the race last October, including more than $554,000 through April 8, but has spent less than $193,000.
"We're running a fiscally responsible campaign," said Andrew Roberts, McAdams' campaign manager. "Rep. Mia Love is blowing through her campaign cash faster than she's blowing through the federal deficit."
Unlike Love, who faces no Republican opposition for the 4th Congressional District seat that includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties, there are four other Democrats in the race besides McAdams: Tom Taylor, Darlene McDonald, Morgan Shepherd and Sheldon Kirkham.
McAdams is the only Democrat gathering voter signatures for a place on the June primary ballot, but to save money he may end up only competing for the nomination at the Utah Democratic Party Convention on April 28.
"We're still monitoring that situation," Roberts said, promising to "turn on the faucet" if it looks like McAdams won't be nominated at convention. Convention delegates can't advance more than two candidates to the primary ballot.
Hansen said Love's campaign isn't in a hurry to take on McAdams.4 comments on this story
"He isn't even the nominee yet," Hansen said. "He has four other opponents he has to deal with. We'll wait and see who the Democrats decide will be their nominee and we'll go from there."
Barber said this year's congressional midterm elections, the first since President Donald Trump, a Republican, took office, are going to be tough on GOP candidates around the country.
"I think if it were any other year, I would expect Mia Love to be the hands-down favorite. But this is going to be just such a bad year for Republicans that it's hard to know what kind of wave she is looking at," he said.