SALT LAKE CITY — The most recent fundraising reports show only a few Democratic candidates have raised as much money as their Republican counterparts in the 90 races this year for Utah’s overwhelmingly Republican state Legislature.
In more than a third of the races, candidates are unopposed or only face a third-party challenger. In four races for Utah’s House of Representatives, Democrats who have stepped in to challenge Republicans came close to raising as much money their opponents, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2dSNU8B) on Wednesday.
Democrats have outraised Republicans in races for three other House seats that are open, according to the most recent campaign finance reports filed Sept. 30.
In House District 54 covering left-leaning Park City, rural areas and Heber City, Democrat Rudi Kohler has collected more than $24,700 this year. His Republican opponent Tim Quinn raised about $6,900. In rural south-central Utah’s House District 70, Democrat William Groff raised $7,400 while Republican Karl Albrecht raised $4,500.
In the Salt Lake City metro-area District 34, Republican Macade Jensen raised about $12,400, while Democrat Karen Kwan has raised about $35,700.
The seats had been held by the GOP, but Utah’s Democratic Party chairman Peter Corroon hopes they’ll have a good shot at winning and reduce the Republican supermajority in Utah’s statehouse.
James Evans, the chairman of Utah’s Republican Party, said he thinks Republicans will win in District 54 and District 70. But District 34, which includes a relatively diverse group of voters in parts of West Valley City and Taylorsville, will be a challenge for Republicans to keep, Evans said.
Overall, incumbent lawmakers, most of whom are Republican, collected the most money this year and raised about $4 of every $5 contributed.
Only one incumbent — Republican Rep. LaVar Christensen of Draper — has been outraised by a challenger this year.
Christensen has raised $39,785 so far. His Democratic opponent Suzanne Harrison has raised almost twice as much, with $61,924 in her campaign fund.
Harrison said she’s working hard and her numbers reflect the support.
Christensen said despite being outraised, he’s optimistic about his re-election and listens to his constituents.
The election is Nov. 8.