After hard-fought primary races, the winning Republican and Democratic nominees in Utah’s 1st Congressional District are launching their general election campaigns with almost nothing left in their bank accounts as they seek to replace retiring GOP Rep. Rob Bishop.
Both camps expect that GOP nominee Blake Moore will be able to raise much more than Democrat Darren Parry in the heavily Republican district that has not elected a Democrat in 42 years, and Moore already starts out with an edge: reporting $32,000 in the bank compared to under $6,000 for Parry.
It is Utah’s only open congressional seat this year. The other three, all with incumbents seeking reelection, are far more lopsided on the money front.
In the closely watched 4th Congressional District, where first-term Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams is often ranked among the most vulnerable House members, the incumbent has an overwhelming cash advantage over Republican nominee Burgess Owens, according to disclosures filed Wednesday.
McAdams reports $2.6 million on hand after spending about $1 million of the $3 million he’s raised over the cycle. Owens reports $91,000 cash in the bank after coming out on top of a bruising four-way GOP primary June 30. He raised $767,000 and spent $676,000 to secure that party victory.
A similar financial picture, heavily weighted in favor of the incumbent, appears in the 2nd Congressional District.
Only open seat
Disclosure forms in Utah’s 1st District show that Moore, a business management consultant, spent $378,500 through the GOP primary, including loaning his campaign $203,600 from his own wallet to help him win 31% of the vote against three other Republicans with deeper political resumes.
Moore said he does not expect the need to donate much more of his personal funds to his general election campaign. “We should be able to raise enough to be able to run a really competitive, solid campaign for the general.”
He added, “It was really a hard-fought [primary] campaign and we’re going to go after it now. And we’ll start working on raising more money.”
Meanwhile, Parry, the former chairman of the northwest band of the Shoshone tribe, spent $8,800 through the Democratic primary, and won 51% of the vote against progressive Jamie Cheek. He had loaned his campaign about $3,000 during the campaign but managed to pay it back. He said he does not plan to loan his campaign any more money.
“I’m going to have enough money to run the campaign that we want. Obviously, we’re never going to out-fundraise Moore or spend as much as him,” Parry said. “We’ll be able to get where we need to be, knowing it’s going to be woefully short of his.”
Parry said he will focus on social media and mailers but will also have some radio and TV ads.
Moore said his campaign is developing its advertising plan now, and sees social media, mailers, radio and TV all as options.
Correction: 7/16/20 1:50 p.m. This story was updated that Rep. John Curtis and Devin Thorpe are candidates in the 3rd Congressional District.