Washington • Republican candidates in Utah’s new 4th Congressional District are hitting each other over their fundraising reports in a bid to show who is most prepared to stand up to Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, in November.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love narrowly leads former state Rep. Carl Wimmer in net contributions with $81,900 to Wimmer’s $76,800. And those two dominated former state lawmaker Stephen Sandstrom, who only raised $9,100 because he couldn’t solicit donations while serving in this year’s legislative session. Instead, Sandstrom has loaned his campaign $284,600 of his own money.
The problem for Love is she missed the filing deadline.
The reports cover contributions from Jan. 1 to April 1, and were due Monday at midnight. She didn’t get her report to the Federal Election Commission until Wednesday morning and it had a few errors that needed to be corrected.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mayor Love. I hope they can get organized and make sure they are filing things in a timely fashion," Wimmer said. "It would be unfortunate if Jim Matheson were able to exploit that."
Meanwhile, Sandstrom said: "I just think it’s good she realized she has to follow the rules and file the report."
Love explained that her staff thought the report was due on April 15, when candidates nationwide must file their disclosures, but the FEC moved up Utah’s deadline because of the state party conventions, which will take place April 21.
"No big deal," said Love. "If the only thing Matheson has to come at me with is a one-day late filing — period, then we are in great shape."
She said Matheson would have more ammunition against Wimmer.
"He has been in this race for a lot longer than I have and I’ve raised more money in this quarter than any of the other candidates have," Love said. "And I didn’t need the Club for Growth to do it."
The Club, a D.C.-based fiscally conservative group that helped defeat Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010, has endorsed Wimmer and in the past three months funneled $52,000 in member contributions to his campaign. That accounts for more than two-thirds of Wimmer’s total for the period.
Wimmer said he is proud of the Club’s support and is aggressively raising money from supporters in the state. He has raised $276,000 in the race, more than any competitor, though he has also been campaigning far longer than anyone else.
Wimmer had $114,000 in available cash at the start of this month, while Sandstrom had $130,600 and Love came in at $39,200.
"The fundraising matters. It shows who has the staying power," said Wimmer. "I have not only the fundraising ability but the staying power to defeat Matheson."
Sandstrom, who resigned from the Legislature shortly after the session ended March 8, said future reports will show his ability to connect with donors, though as a financially successful architect, he has also committed to using more of his own money if needs be.
"I do not plan on putting any more than I have to in, but I’ll do what it takes to be competitive," he said.
It will be hard for any GOP challenger to beat Matheson in the money race. Utah’s lone congressional Democrat has been an aggressive fundraiser since he joined Congress in 2000 and his party wants to hold on to a seat in Utah.
Matheson raised $339,700 in the past three months boosting his cash reserves to $971,500.
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