Bruce Hough and Becky Edwards flex personal wealth ahead of September’s GOP primary election

Celeste Maloy’s campaign is more reliant on donations from political action committees to fund her bid to replace Utah Rep. Chris Stewart in Congress.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Candidates for the Republican nomination for Utah's 2nd Congressional District, from left: Celeste Maloy, Bruce Hough, and Becky Edwards. Here's how much each of the candidates has raised for their campaigns, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Republican Bruce Hough has loaned nearly $400,000 to his campaign in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District special election, which accounts for more than 60% of his campaign cash ahead of the Sept. 5 GOP primary election.

Hough loaned over $130,000 to his campaign in July and during the first half of August, and added another $56,000 after the Aug. 16 reporting deadline, bringing his total personal contribution throughout his campaign to just over $390,000, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

The businessman is not alone when it comes to self-financing in the race.

Becky Edwards loaned her election effort another $200,000, according to her FEC campaign filings. Edwards has put $300,000 of her funds toward her campaign. That’s on top of the $527,000 Edwards loaned her 2022 U.S. Senate campaign.

Federal election rules allow candidates to repay those personal loans with donor money. So far, Hough has repaid $25,000 to himself.

Celeste Maloy is the only candidate not spending personal funds on the race, but she appears to be leaning on connections she made as a staffer in Rep. Chris Stewart’s office to reel in more than $50,000 in donations from political action committees. PAC donations account for nearly one-fifth of her contributions since she jumped into the race in June.

Edwards has raised more from individual donors than her two rivals for the GOP nomination, tallying nearly $370,000 in contributions. Maloy has pulled in about $200,000 since July, bringing her total to nearly $250,000. According to his most recent filing, Hough received approximately $140,000 from individual donors, which puts his total donor contributions at slightly more than $200,000.

Among Maloy’s donors were several prominent Republicans and officeholders. Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei kicked in $1,000 to Maloy’s campaign. Utah state Sens. David Hinkins, Don Ipson, John Johnson, Mike McKell and Evan Vickers contributed to Maloy’s campaign, as did Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton, Riverton City Council member Tawnee McCay and retired congressman Rob Bishop.

Maloy also received the maximum individual donation of $3,300 from former Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson, who resigned after his arrest for allegedly hitting a farm worker. Maloy’s campaign did not respond to questions from The Salt Lake Tribune about whether she intended to keep or return Gibson’s contribution.

While Hough and Edwards have put sizeable personal funds toward their campaigns, they’ve also received cash from prominent donors.

Brad Bonham, who was recently elected to replace Hough as Utah’s representative on the Republican National Committee, real estate executive Kem Gardner and Merit Medical CEO Fred Lampropolous are among Hough’s donors.

Edwards received sizeable donations from Traeger CEO Jeremy Andrus, Blackstone executive David Blitzer and Extra Space Storage founder and chairman Kenneth Woolley.

Last year, Edwards unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate, aiming to replace Sen. Mike Lee. A Lee staffer and another candidate in that Senate race are now supporting her competition in this year’s special congressional election.

Ally Isom, who finished behind Edwards in last year’s GOP primary election, and her husband gave a maximum donation to Maloy. Allyson Bell, chief of staff for Sen. Lee, gave to Maloy and Hough but not Edwards.