Republican Gov. Norm Bangerter and Democrat Ted Wilson - have raised more than $350,000 each in their races, on track with their projected $1 million campaigns.But independent Merrill Cook has had trouble with fund-raising and now says that he may contribute,
personally, two-thirds of his campaign war chest instead of the 50 percent he originally promised.
All statewide candidates must file a financial disclosure statement with the lieutenant governor's office next week. Unlike federal races, state election law allows contributions directly from businesses, and both Bangerter and Wilson say they've gotten considerable support from Utah's business community.
Cook, likewise, says response to his campaign from small business has been good. While only raising about $15,000 so far (e's put in another $15,000 of his own money), Cook said that his store-front walks have yielded "a contribution from every fifth or sixth business I walk into."
In 1985, Cook spent upwards of $500,000 of his own money in his failed Salt Lake City mayoral race.
Cook and his father own Cook Slurry Co., a successful mining explosives firm. Cook says the firm will contribute $200,000 to his gubernatorial campaign, but no more.
"I thought we could raise $200,000 in outside money. That would put me at 50 percent of the contributions, a fair amount considering I'm running an independent, statewide campaign without party ties."
But now Cook says he doubts he can raise $200,000 from contributors, although he hopes he can. "I'm going to put in my original pledge, $200,000. If I raise only $100,000, then I spend $300,000. If I can raise more, we'll spend that. We're not poor-boying this effort. Spending $300,000 to $400,000 on the campaign is plenty to get our message out."
Neither Wilson nor Bangerter will contribute any of their own money to their races, aides said.
Rob Jolley, Wilson's campaign manager, said Wilson is a bit ahead on his fund-raising schedule. Wilson leads Bangerter by 23 points in the polls, always an advantage in raising money.
"We'll file a report showing $350,000-$400,000 in contributions," said Jolley. "Seventy to 80 percent of that comes from in-state. We had a Washington, D.C., fund-raiser that brought in $30,000." Actor Robert Redford was a co-host at that affair.
Jolley said Wilson plans a New York City fund-raiser later this year. "We're targeting the bonding community - attorneys and investment bankers - for that one. We hope to bring in $20,000-$30,000."
Wilson promises, if elected, to push for a $150 million bond to "jump-start" Utah's economy. "Regardless of that bond, the state bonds yearly, and they (ew York City bankers) are interested in Ted," Jolley said.
Bangerter's campaign manager, Dave Buhler, said the governor has also raised about $350,000. "Ninety percent is in-state." Bangerter spent about $90,000 early in the campaign on some TV advertisements. He has been saving his money recently, getting ready for a big push in the fall. "Almost all of our fund-raising will be in Utah. We won't get a lot of out-of-state PAC money," Buhler said.