Washington • Republican heavyweights rallied around Mia Love, boosting her recent fundraising to within a few thousand dollars of veteran Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah's most anticipated congressional showdown.
And she made a bold prediction for round two.
"I have no doubts that we will outraise him next quarter," Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, said Monday.
She pulled in $355,100 from early April to the end of June, a period before and after she locked up the GOP nomination at the state convention. Matheson, a 12-year Democratic incumbent, took in $361,500 in the same period.
It's unusual for a challenger to mirror the fundraising of an incumbent and even rarer for one to outperform a sitting lawmaker.
Love predicted Matheson's financial support will wane in reaction to his vote last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he voted against a similar repeal effort 18 months ago.
In between those votes, Matheson has backed repealing some pieces of the health-care overhaul.
"He is playing politics of personal preservation, and he no longer puts Utah first," Love said. "I think we'll see people start to recognize that."
Matheson, Utah's sole Democrat in Congress who repeatedly voted against President Barack Obama's health reform bill, said he didn't support the first repeal effort because critical lawsuits about the new law, including one involving Utah, were before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I thought it was important to have those resolved," he said. Now that the high court has upheld the law, he said he feels comfortable voting for its full repeal.
Matheson brushed off any impact on his ability to raise funds or the idea that he would get into some financial battle with Love.
"I'm going to continue to be aggressive and raise the money I need to get my message out," he said. "That is all that really matters to me."
Matheson noted he starts with a significant financial edge. He ended June with $1.28 million at his disposal, while Love had $277,200.
Love's total would likely have been far smaller without the support of big name Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio, and Sen. John McCain, of Arizona. They were among the 65 sitting members of Congress who contributed to her campaign, accounting for $156,000 in the past few months.
So far she has accepted a check from a fourth of the House Republicans.
In that same period, Matheson raised $23,600 from fellow House Democrats, though he accepted much more money from Democratic officials earlier in the year.
The national support is likely to continue with Democrats and Republicans listing Utah's new 4th District as a top priority. At the same time, both candidates received contributions from notable Utahns as well. Matheson accepted donations from longtime Salt Lake County Council member Randy Horiuchi and state Rep. Patrice Arent, among others.
Love received contributions from Sen. Orrin Hatch, Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, along with former Sen. Bob Bennett and Utah Republican Committeewoman Enid Greene Mickelsen.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has yet to donate to Love, though he has endorsed her. Lee originally backed her GOP rival Carl Wimmer, who finished second at the convention. Wimmer kicked in $17,000 of his own money to the race and has less than $10,000 left in his account after he refunded money to some of his donors.
1st District • Bishop, a heavy favorite to win a sixth term in this strongly Republican district, raised $41,500 and has $80,600 available. He gave $20,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has made Matheson one of its top targets.
He is running against Democrat Donna McAleer, who has $6,200 available after winning a primary showdown against Ryan Combe on June 26.
2nd District• In the only race without an incumbent, Republican candidate Chris Stewart has been a far more active fundraiser than Democrat Jay Seegmiller.
Stewart, who clinched the nomination at the convention by besting a crowded field, has contributed $65,000 of his own money to his race. Stewart raised $91,300 and has about $114,800 in his account.
Seegmiller raised $42,500 and has $20,700 on hand. He has loaned his campaign about $14,000 of his own funds.
3rd District • Chaffetz, who has spent far more time working on behalf of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign than on his own re-election effort, has $132,300 in available funds after raising $51,100 in the last quarter. He is chasing a third term against Salt Lake City Councilman Soren Simonsen. The Democrat said Monday he only recently surpassed the $5,000 fundraising threshold and will be reporting his contributions in coming weeks to the Federal Election Commission.
Utah House candidates reported their fundraising for April, May and June in reports due at midnight Sunday.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R
Cash on hand: $80,600
Donna McAleer, D
Cash on hand: $6,200
Jay Seegmiller, D
Cash on hand: $20,700
Chris Stewart, R
Cash on hand: $114,800
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R
Cash on hand: $132,300
Soren Simonsen, D
Will be filing later
Mia Love, R
Cash on hand: $277,200
Rep. Jim Matheson, D
Cash on hand: $1,280,800
Source: Federal Election Commission