Mia Love, Ben McAdams running neck and neck in money chase as Utah’s hottest campaign gears up for stretch drive

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announces his plans to run against two-term Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, for the state's 4th Congressional District, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah 4th District Congresswoman Mia Love meets with Salt Lake Tribune's editorial board, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.

Heading into the homestretch of their close 4th District congressional race, GOP Rep. Mia Love and Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor are essentially tied in the amount of cash they have amassed.

Both have $1.2 million in the bank, according to new quarterly campaign finance disclosure forms — although McAdams has a slim $15,880 more.

A recent Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll showed Love leads McAdams by 6 percentage points, and theirs is the only close major race in the state in advance of the Nov. 6 general election.

While they have the same amount of cash now, Love has been raising and spending significantly more.

She took in $1.02 million in the past quarter and spent $722,000. During this two-year election cycle, she has amassed $3.3 million and spent $2.6 million.

McAdams gathered $620,000 during the quarter and spent $235,000. He has raised $1.7 million since he entered the campaign last October and spent $428,000.

The candidates fired some verbal zingers at each other about what the latest financial figures mean.

McAdams said polls show they are close, even in a statistical tie, even though Love has spent more on the race.

“During her time in Congress, Rep. Love has blown the federal deficit up into the stratosphere — and her campaign report shows she can’t seem to stop spending, no matter where she goes,” McAdams said. “She spends it nearly as fast as she raises it, which shows her true lack of fiscal conservatism.”

Love, meanwhile, said her outraising McAdams shows that voters have more trust in her.

“Between Ben’s recent gaffe with the massive high-density Olympia Hills development near the Herriman area, his extensive employment history with Hillary and Bill Clinton, his wishy-washy rhetoric regarding abortion and the fact he doesn’t even live in the 4th district, voters are realizing Ben just isn’t someone they can trust.”

The two-term congresswoman had recently attacked McAdams for taking $10,000 in donations from Olympia Hills developers, but that was before he vetoed the County Council’s approval of the controversial project — saying it was too dense.

McAdams does not live in the district. Former Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, also did not live in their districts at times. Matheson said GOP state legislators gerrymandered boundaries to prevent his election in his home district, so he ran in the 4th, which contained more of his original, old district.

McAdams said Friday that he has “tapped into unbelievable enthusiasm and support” in the district, pointing to the nearly $439,000 he raised from Utah donors in the quarter.

Love’s forms show she raised about $46,000 in the state in the quarter, about 8 percent of amounts from contributions that contained a donor’s address.

She said her larger donations amounted to “another phenomenal quarter, and I am grateful for the faith and trust so many have put in my past efforts and future endeavors.”

Forms show that Love, like most incumbents, is attracting a greater percentage of her donations from political action committees — such as those from companies, industries or ideological groups.

Analysis of her forms shows that 24.3 percent of her donations so far this cycle have come from PACs (and the rest from individuals), compared with 12.5 percent for McAdams.