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Lee raising more money, but Bridgewater's bank is bigger

Published June 11, 2010 7:11 am

Senate race » Bridgewater loaned his campaign more than $390,000 from his own pocket.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

GOP Senate hopeful Mike Lee is winning the cash race in the sprint to the June 22 primary, but opponent Tim Bridgewater heads into the final stretch with more than twice as much money in the bank, much of it coming from Bridgewater's own pocket.

New financial disclosures show Lee raised nearly $263,000 from mid-April to early June, while Bridgewater raked in $141,000 during the same period. However, Bridgewater's previous personal loans to the campaign, plus $55,000 he tossed in since the state convention, leave him with nearly $233,000 on hand, more than doubling Lee's $107,000.

Lee's deputy campaign manager, Ryan McCoy, says they are confident they will have the money they need before the primary. The Lee campaign tweeted on Thursday that it had surpassed $100,000 in online donations.

"We're confident in our ability to fund our campaign, including our television and radio ads," Lee said.

Lee took in $12,000 from political action committees, but didn't donate anything to himself. He also got $100 from former federal judge Paul Cassell, $1,000 from David Huntsman and $2,300 from billionaire industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr.

But those sums were no match for a candidate who can help fund his bid himself.

Bridgewater has loaned his campaign $391,745 so far -- more than $300,000 of which he gave before the May 8 convention -- leaving him with a substantial cash edge but a significant debt as well.

Tiffany Gunnerson, Bridgewater's spokeswoman, said her boss doesn't plan to loan his campaign any more personal funds and that fundraising efforts are continuing.

"We're confident we have what we need to get the message out," Gunnerson said.

Bridgewater got $1,000 from Saddle PAC, a group run by former staffers of Sen. Bob Bennett that the Bridgewater campaign claimed was sending out anti-Bridgewater phone calls before the state convention.

Bridgewater and Lee finished one-two at the convention, ousting Bennett, to move on to the primary.

Meanwhile, in the 2nd Congressional District, Democratic newcomer Claudia Wright took in $14,700 from mid-April to June.

As expected, Rep. Jim Matheson had a massive lead in his campaign account. His report, filed late Thursday, showed he had raised nearly $142,000 and spent $467,000 since the convention.

He still had nearly $1.1 million in the bank, but his primary clash with Wright has drained more than $300,000 from his account -- money he won't be able to spend should he survive the primary and go up against Republican nominee Morgan Philpot in the general election.

He has raised more than $1.12 million since winning re-election in 2008, with nearly $1 million of it coming from political action committees.

tburr@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">tburr@sltrib.com

Tribune reporter Robert Gehrke contributed to this story.

Lee raises most cash, but rival has more

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Where they stand

Fundraising from April 19 through June 2:

Mike Lee

Raised » $262,920

Spent » $226,422

Cash » $107,389

Debt » $44,699

Tim Bridgewater

Raised » $140,975

Spent » $140,176

Cash » $232,561

Debt » $352,745

Claudia Wright

Raised » $14,694

Spent » $17,048

Cash » $6,598

Debt » $0

Source: Financial disclosures