Incumbent Sen. Mitt Romney isn’t fundraising like he’s planning on running for a second term in 2024. But, the Utah Republican hasn’t officially drawn a serious opponent yet — and it’s still early.
According to the latest Federal Election Commission fundraising reports, Romney’s campaign committee raised under $112,000 during the first three months of 2023. That’s the second-smallest fundraising haul among incumbent senators facing a possible reelection run next year, Roll Call reports.
Most of Romney’s donations came from political action committees. His campaign reported 19 individual donors who contributed just over $13,500. Only one was from Utah, a contribution of $10.
Still, he’s well-positioned financially to kick start a campaign next year with more than $600,000 in the bank. Romney filed his statement of candidacy with the FEC last month.
And while Romney hasn’t announced whether he’ll run for another term next year, if he does, he’ll likely draw at least one primary challenger. Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson launched an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate in April.
First District incumbent Rep. Blake Moore raised the most money among Utah’s congressional delegation in the first quarter. Moore reported pulling in $331,913 in contributions. More than $100,000 came from individual donations, with the rest from PACs and other fundraising committees. Moore’s campaign pulled in about $27,000 from his joint fundraising committee and another $178,000 from PACs and other committees.
Moore loaned his campaign more than $200,000 to finance his first run for Congress in 2020, and $130,000 of that debt is still listed on his disclosures.
Rep. Burgess Owens is usually a fundraising machine. In 2020 he raised more than $6 million and another $3.4 million in 2022. This election cycle is starting relatively slowly for the two-term Republican. He’s reporting $110,095 in donations in the first quarter of 2023.
Owens’ campaign spent everything it raised in the first quarter of this year and then some, reporting $110,496 in expenses. More than half of those disbursements were designated as “disgorged contributions,” which means an illegal contribution the campaign must either return to the original donor or give to the U.S. Treasury. About half of the returned donations were given to Owens for his first campaign in 2020. A spokesperson for Owens did not immediately respond to questions about what the disgorged donations were for.
Owens has a history of running afoul of campaign finance rules. In 2020, his campaign accepted more than $135,000 in illegal contributions. As votes were still being counted in his narrow win that year, Owens’ campaign sent fundraising emails accusing Democrats of trying to “steal the election.” In 2021, his campaign was fined by the FEC for failing to disclose several donations during the final days of the 2020 race.
The majority of Rep. John Curtis’ campaign donations this year have come from political action committees and other organizations. Just $30,400 of the $161,900 he raised has come from individual contributors. Nearly half of the individual donations detailed on Curtis’ quarterly report are from Washington, D.C. Curtis’ leadership PAC raised another $13,000 from corporations and other PACs.
Rep. Chris Stewart, the longest-serving member of Utah’s congressional delegation, raised $130,303 in the first quarter, with about half coming from individual donations. Stewart’s joint fundraising committee pulled in $40,000 in donations from just three donors. “Freedom 21: Fighting for Freedom in the 21st Century” leadership PAC has reported no contributions this year but has more than $60,000 in the bank.
Sen. Mike Lee, who won’t be on the ballot again until 2028, raised the least of any Utahn in Congress, reporting $109,581 in contributions, with most of that coming from individual donors.
Even after spending more than $11.6 million on his 2022 reelection race, Lee still reports over $850,000 in campaign funds available, the most among Utah’s delegation.
Moore raised the most money from Utah during the most recent fundraising quarter, collecting more than $75,000 from Beehive State donors. The next closest was Owens with $15,850.
Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.