Governor hopefuls awash in funds
By Bob Bernick Jr. and Jerry D. Spangler
May 4, 2004
Money is pouring into the Republican race for governor,
with one candidate spending more than $2 million and another
nearly $750,000, according to campaign disclosures released
Meanwhile, a poll of the state
GOP delegates — the 3,500 individuals who will be voting on
the gubernatorial candidates in Saturday's state Republican
convention — shows the two spending the most are also
leading the eight-person GOP field.
Monday evening was the filing
deadline for campaign financial statements. Those reports,
along with some money spent by candidates' political action
committees, show $5.23 million has been raised and $4.62
million spent by the GOP gubernatorial hopefuls.
Millionaire medical company
executive Fred Lampropoulos has — as best as the Deseret
Morning News can determine — raised $2.49 million and spent
$2.31 million. He has clearly set a new record in
pre-convention spending in a major Utah contest.
That total includes his
campaign account, his political action committee, and $325,000
that his top aides say Lampropoulos spent out of his own
pocket in 2003 to buy radio time for his "just thought
you'd like to know" homilies on what's right with
America. The $325,000 doesn't appear on any report. His aides
say the expenditure falls outside campaign reporting law
because it was made before Lampropoulos was a declared
More than 98 percent of the
cash going to Lampropoulos' various committees came from
Lampropoulos, his immediate family and top executives of his
$500 million firm, Merit Medical Systems Inc.
Spending the second-largest
amount is Jon Huntsman Jr. He has raised $846,355. Of that
total, $337,000 comes from his extended family, the
family-controlled Huntsman Chemical and from people and firms
currently or formerly associated with the chemical giant.
Coming in third was former U.S.
Rep. Jim Hansen with $310,200. Almost $120,000 of that came
from his old House campaign committee.
Democrat Scott Matheson Jr.,
unopposed in his party, did not have to file a campaign report
However, in a news release
Matheson said he's raised $467,627 and spent only $51,874,
leaving him $391,343 in cash as he awaits the Republican
LaVarr Webb, a member of the
Exoro lobbying and consulting firm, said a survey paid for by
his firm of 1,335 of the 3,500 state GOP delegates shows
Huntsman with a lead over Lampropoulos. Huntsman has 25
percent of the first-place votes in the preferential voting
tally, said Webb, who also co-writes a political column for
the Deseret Morning News.
Lampropoulos has 17 percent of
the first-place votes.
The field then falls away, with
Gov. Olene Walker (13 percent), House Utah Speaker Marty
Stephens (9 percent), Board of Regents Chairman Nolan Karras
(9 percent) and former U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen (7 percent). State
Sen. Parley Hellewell and Gary Benson only tallied a few
percentage points each, Webb said.
However, accurate polling with
a preferential ballot system is difficult, Webb admitted.
Saturday, delegates will list
their candidate preferences one through eight. As the
least-popular candidate drops off in each round of voting, the
remaining candidates may end up with more first-place votes.
"Who knows what will really happen in the state
convention," said Webb.
Some interesting information
from the financial statements:
Benson: He has entirely
self-funded his campaign — to the tune of $4,000.
Hansen: The former
congressman drew on his national constituents for support,
drawing checks from out-of-state donors, including $30,000
from two people in Minnesota.
Hellewell: To the
surprise of some, he came in fourth on the big money list. A
successful plumbing and heating contractor, Hellewell has
raised nearly $300,000, but most of that is his own money.
The total may be inflated. He
shows a $125,000 contribution from the Steven Stone family and
then a $125,000 payment to the Steven Stone family for
Huntsman: Rarely do
leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
give money in partisan races. But Huntsman's grandfather, LDS
Quorum of the Twelve member Elder David B. Haight, gave
Huntsman Chemical owns several
jets. Huntsman has flown on the corporate jet at least three
times to county GOP conventions and other campaign-related
events — an in-kind donation totaling $11,250.
The Eccles banking family has
given $8,000. The Marriott hotel family, $10,500. Ann Romney,
wife of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gave $10,000.
Karras: The member of
the state Board of Regents (the higher education governing
body) and former House speaker has raised his money from
dozens of Utah businesses and individuals, usually several
hundred dollars at a time. Karras' campaign was supported by
donations from Envirocare owner Khosrow Semnani, developer
Steve Creamer and David Simmons of the Zions Banking family.
But $100,000 came from Karras' own bank account.
gregarious CEO has set a new record in wooing state delegates.
He's invited them down to Tuacahn, paid for a concert by
Beatles impersonators and arranged for discounted hotel rooms.
Most contributions beyond his own come from his partners and
officers in Merit Medical and his son Bryan. But even his
ex-wife gave him money.
Stephens: The current
House speaker got big chunks of money from current and former
legislators, including Kevin Garn and current House Whip Jeff
Alexander. His choice for lieutenant governor, Sen. Tom Hatch
of Panguitch, gave him $4,000. Stephens also got money from
the banking community. His largest contribution of $30,000
came from Robert Lichfield of La Verkin, Washington County,
who owns a group of troubled-youth homes.
Walker: Larry Miller,
owner of the Utah Jazz and a dozen car dealerships, gave
Walker $10,000, which came as a surprise to the Huntsman
"He's in our ads, he was
at the unveiling of our economic development plan and he's a
loyal supporter," said Huntsman campaign spokesman Jason
Chaffetz. "He was the first contributor to our
So what about the donation to
Walker? "Good for him," Chaffetz said.
Walker loaned her campaign
$20,000 and gave another $51,000 from her Governor's Special