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Find KUER's reporting on the races, candidates and more for Utah’s 2018 midterm elections. Click here for our graphics of the U.S. Senate race, 4 Congressional races and Utah ballot initiatives.

A 'Green Wave' Of Cash For Utah's GOP Candidates Seeking Federal Office

Mitt Romney at microphone in KUER studios.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

While Democrats and political pundits talk about a "blue wave" heading into this year's midterm elections, that enthusiasm isn't translating into cash donations for most of Utah's Democratic candidates in federal races.

Utah's all-Republican delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives are raking in more cash than their Democratic challengers ahead of November's election, according to the latest campaign finance filings.

Between April and July, Rep. Mia Love, who's seeking a third term in the House, topped fundraising by bringing in more than more than $1 million. In what's likely to be Utah's most tightly-contested congressional race, Love's opponent Ben McAdams raised more than $650,000 — much more than other Utah Democrats for this quarter.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, the favorite to win the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, outraised his Democratic opponent Jenny Wilson by a nearly 17-to-1 margin from April through June. Since the beginning of the year, most of Romney's donations have come from out of state.


Map of Romney's campaign contribution sources. Utah ranks number one for contributions, but total out of state contributions are more than double.
Credit Screenshot /
Mitt Romney's campaign contributions from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2018.

Romney, a former two-time presidential candidate, raked in $2.4 million in just three months, while Wilson, who serves on the Salt Lake County Council, raised nearly $145,000.

Two Utah Democrats — Lee Castillo, who's challenging Rep. Rob Bishop, and James Singer, who faces freshman Rep. John Curtis — have struggled to fundraise. Neither candidate has broken $10,000 since the beginning of the year.

According to Open Secrets, the average House member spent $1.3 million to win their seat in 2016.

Two candidates from the fledgling United Utah Party (UUP) outraised their Democratic opponents in the second quarter, while still falling short of the fundraising power of Utah's Republican incumbents. The United Utah Party was formed in early 2017 by centrist Republicans turned off by the increasing polarization of the two main political parties.

In the 2nd Congressional District, UUP candidate Jan Garbett raised more than $54,000 while Democrat Shireen Ghorbani brought in close to $39,000. Meanwhile, GOP incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart raised more than $112,000 between April and July.

And in the 1st Congressional District, the United Utah Party's Eric Eliason raised nearly $20,000 compared to Democrat Lee Castillo's $5,000 since February. Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the powerful House Natural Resources Committee, raked in than $160,000 since April.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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