Washington • Rep. Jim Matheson’s fundraising slowed but didn’t stop after he decided against seeking another House term in 2014 and may instead turn his sights toward a run at governor or the U.S. Senate.
He raised $28,100 after his surprise Dec. 17 announcement and he cashed another $19,000 in checks the day before. All told, Utah’s highest-profile Democrat raised $117,600 in the last three months of 2013, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Here is the breakdown on the campaign finance reports that cover October 1 through Dec. 31, 2013
District 1 » (Ogden, Brigham City, Logan)
Rep. Rob Bishop, R
Raised » $45,800
Spent » $17,600
Cash on hand » $79,000
Donna McAleer, D
Raised » $55,300
Spent » $12,100
Cash on hand » $44,400
Peter Clemens, D
Raised » $6,700
Spent » $10,500
Cash on hand » $5,500
District 2 » (Salt Lake City, Tooele, Cedar City, St. George)
Rep. Chris Stewart, R
Raised » $115,300
Spent » $42,300
Cash on hand » $170,100
District 3 » (Provo, Price, Moab)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R
Raised » $85,200
Spent » $95,200
Cash on hand » $165,500
District 4 » (West Valley City, West Jordan, Nephi)
Rep. Jim Matheson, D — RETIRING
Raised » $117,600
Spent » $52,900
Cash on hand » $743,100
Mia Love, R
Raised » $516,300
Spent » $472,000
Cash on hand » $716,117
Bob Fuehr, R
Raised » $146,500
Spent » $33,300
Cash on hand » $117,400
Source: Federal Election Commission
That’s a sharp slowdown from the rest of the year, when Matheson topped $250,000 in receipts every quarter. He ended 2013 with $743,100 in available cash, which he could use for a future federal run — say against Sen. Mike Lee in 2016 or for the seat now held by Sen. Orrin Hatch, who said he isn’t running again in 2018 — or he could divert it into a state account and run for governor in 2016 if he chooses to do so.
Matheson says those are decisions for another day and he’s focused on finishing out his last year in Congress. In the meantime, others are angling to replace him.
Mia Love, a Republican who narrowly lost to Matheson in 2012, kept up a torrid fundraising pace, bringing in $516,300 in late 2013. It was the second quarter in a row where she raised more than half a million dollars. But money was going out almost as fast as it was coming in and she ended up adding just $45,000 to her account balance. She has $716,100 in available funds.
Matheson raises the bulk of his funds from political action committees of corporations, unions and associations, a source readily available to incumbents, but rarely to challengers. Love has built a nationwide small-dollar fundraising machine, predicated on sending out mass mailers and collecting contributions as small as $1.
Love spent at least $300,000 on campaign mailers from October to December. They apparently worked. Her campaign announced it received money from 9,780 individual donors. By law she only has to identify people whose cumulative contributions have topped $200. Of those people, only 62 were from Utah.
In a statement, Love said she’s focused on fiscal discipline and Utah’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches along the west side of Salt Lake and Utah counties.
"I’m out every day visiting with Fourth District voters and listening to their concerns," she said. "The contributions that we receive will help us to further reach out to all voters across the district."
Love now has nine paid campaign staffers, including Dave Hansen, who led Hatch’s high-priced 2012 reelection effort. With Matheson out, she now has to worry about other Republicans jumping into the race. So far, the only one who has is Bob Fuehr, a former executive with US West who also ran a dark-horse campaign in 2012.
Fuehr is largely self-funding his second congressional bid, loaning his effort $144,000 in late 2013. He ended the year with $117,400 to spend.
Doug Owens, the son of the late Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, plans to seek the Democratic nomination in the 4th District, a decision he made in late January. He didn’t file a campaign finance report. Neither did Luz Robles, the Democratic state senator from Salt Lake City, who has announced she will challenge freshman Rep. Chris Stewart in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.
Stewart had his best fundraising quarter of his first term in office. He pulled in $115,300 in contributions and now has $170,100 to use in his campaign.
In the state’s two most conservative districts, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who represents the 3rd Congresional District, has no challengers so far, while Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in the 1st Congressional District, has two.
Bishop who historically spends little energy raising money has $79,000 in available cash, while Donna McAleer, his 2012 Democratic opponent, has $44,400. Peter Clemens, another Democrat in the race has $5,500.
Sen. Mike Lee’s favorability numbers declined after he helped lead the strategy that resulted in a government shutdown. He isn’t up for reelection in 2016 and appears to be trying to get a jump on his fundraising Like Mia Love, Lee tried to build a grassroots fundraising effort in late 2013. He raised $390,400 in the fundraising period, his best as a sitting senator, and spent $247,300 on what his campaign terms "prospecting." He had $229,800 in available funds.
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