Romney makes last trip to Utah, tapping supporters for more cash
Politics • Candidate coming for a pair of fundraisers, no rally.
Published: September 18, 2012 11:54AM
Updated: January 7, 2013 11:31PM
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Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives in Utah for a pair of fundraisers on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, in what is expected to be his last stop in the state before the November election.

Mitt Romney will return to Utah for a pair of fundraisers Tuesday in what is expected to be his last stop in the state before the November election.

Romney is scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City Tuesday morning and participate in a roundtable discussion for donors who contribute $25,000 to the Romney campaign and various state Republican parties.

He will then speak to 750 people at a $1,000-a-plate lunch at the Grand America Hotel before leaving at 1 p.m. and returning to the airport to campaign in other states.

The Romney visit comes amid reports of contention and disarray on Team Romney, which has been struggling with its message recently and continues to trail President Barack Obama in most polls.

There had been discussion about whether Romney would be able to hold a public rally in Utah, but it didn’t fit into his schedule. Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright said supporters he has talked to understand the demands on the candidate and people aren’t disappointed.

“This fundraiser and all the fundraisers have been about one thing and that is taking our support through financial contributions to battleground states that will decide this election,” he said. “We’d much rather have a public appearance from President Romney or President-elect Romney, which we know we’ll have when he wins, than have one now and not have him win the election in November.”

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said his party is always happy to see Romney in town.

“We love his smiling face, but also because it’s time away from Ohio and Florida and Colorado and Nevada and it means he’s running low on cash,” Dabakis said. “We hope he comes back a lot more in the last few days before the election.”

He also noted — with sarcasm — that Romney is having a $1,000 event, so Utah’s working families would have a chance to glimpse the candidate across a crowded room.

The Romney campaign has leaned heavily on Utah’s ardent supporters for fundraising help. Utahns had given $4.8 million to the Romney campaign as of the last filing period. Utah is second to Washington, D.C., in terms of dollars-per-resident that have flowed to the Republican candidate, with $1.70 donated for every man, woman and child in Utah, nearly three times the national average.

Obama has raised $869,000 in the state, or about 30 cents per Utah resident.

The Romney campaign is also kicking off a three-day tour across the state by the Romney-Ryan campaign bus. Neither candidate will be on board, but local politicians will be at stops along the way to help rally volunteers and register voters. The bus is stopping in Midvale, Layton and Logan on Tuesday.

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke