County GOP candidates hold $900K advantage on Democrats

2012-11-01T00:25:00Z 2012-11-01T14:37:40Z County GOP candidates hold $900K advantage on DemocratsBilly Hesterman - Daily Herald Daily Herald
November 01, 2012 12:25 am  • 

If Utah County politics were a sport, you could say that county Republicans beat county Democrats in fundraising the same way BYU's men's basketball team manhandles the University of Utah team.

According to the campaign finance reports, filed by the candidates to the Lt. Governor's Office, Utah County GOPers had $924,960.56 for this year's election cycle while the Democrats reported raising only $14,349.19 in 2012.

The numbers are a cold reality for those hoping for a two-party system within one of the most conservative counties in the country. Utah County is Republican country and based off the landslide win for the GOP in donations, it will be for the foreseeable future.

"It is hard to raise money from the traditional Democratic base because it is small and not necessarily wealthy," said Richard Davis, former chairman of the Utah County Democrats.

Davis noted that for Utah County Democrats to be successful in raising dollars they need a good connection to a non-partisan community that is politically active, such as the education community or the legal community. If a candidate is connected in one of those areas they could succeed in raising money to wage a legitimate campaign against a Republican, but without that connection the race will be long and hard for a Democrat to win in November.

Democrats' uphill climb to get funds in the county gets even tougher when Republican candidates are immediately anointed the winner of the race once they secure their party's nomination. Many Republicans enjoy large donations from businesses and political action committees inside and outside of Utah County, while Democrats are left looking for scraps from friends and neighbors to fund their races.

Republicans do have money challenges, though -- before they secure the nomination. If they face a convention challenger or primary challenger oftentimes the candidates need to hit up their neighbors and friends.

"I've got a lot of people who have been willing to support me and I'm grateful for that," said Deidre Henderson, a state Senate Republican candidate for Utah County's new Senate seat that covers west Provo.

Henderson isn't a stranger to politics as she was Rep. Jason Chaffetz's campaign manager for his first two elections before stepping down so she could run her own race. Despite being well known in political circles Henderson noted that the funding didn't really kick in for her until her nomination was secure.

She also stated that the fundraising is essential for many candidates as most are not well off enough to be able to self-fund a campaign.

One Democrat was able to have a small success, having raised $4,866 for his campaign. Robert Patterson, who is challenging Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, relied on many unions for his campaign finances, but he fits the description that Davis alluded to before -- he works for a union.

Copyright 2015 Daily Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow the Daily Herald