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(Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo) GOP challenger Mia Love and Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson shake hands during a television debate in September. Matheson won the election by a whisker and also prevailed in the fundraising contest by a narrow margin.
Like election, Matheson barely won money chase over Love

Politics » Fundraising in final weeks leading up to election was fast and furious for Saratoga Springs mayor challenging Matheson.

First Published Dec 07 2012 10:58 am • Last Updated Apr 08 2013 11:32 pm

Washington • Rep. Jim Matheson spent just about every dollar at his disposal to fend off Republican Mia Love in the most expensive House race in Utah history.

Combined, the candidates dropped more than $4.5 million on the contest that Matheson won by just 768 votes. That tally doesn’t include more than $6 million spent by outside groups and the resources the state political parties shifted to Utah’s 4th Congressional District.

At a glance

Money chase » Matheson vs. Love

Rep. Jim Matheson

$2.37 million raised

$2.38 million spent

$42,600 balance

Mia Love

$2.29 million raised

$2.2 million spent

$108,000 balance

Source » Federal Election Commission

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The updated figures released late Thursday show Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, kept up a torrid fundraising pace in the final weeks of the election, far exceeding what Matheson, a six-term incumbent, collected from supporters in that period.

Love raised $452,000 from Oct. 18 through Nov. 26, with more than $177,000 coming from small donors, according to the reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

In that same period, Matheson raised $175,600.

Election Day was Nov. 6 and almost all contributions for both candidates came before voters headed to the polls.

The Matheson-Love race drew national attention and therefore big money, which resulted in a barrage of TV ads unlike anything the state had seen before. At its peak, political ads focused on the 4th District appeared multiple times during each commercial break.

Matheson, a strong fundraiser by Utah standards, amassed more than $2.37 million, more than he has ever raised before. And he used it all and then dipped into the little money he had left over from his 2010 campaign.

He has just $42,600 remaining in his campaign account.

Love, who would have been the first black GOP woman elected to Congress, almost closed the fundraising gap with Matheson. She raised $2.29 million and ended the contest with about $108,000 in unspent contributions.

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Twitter: @mattcanham

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