|Low Cash Totals in UT Race Defy Predictions|
Oct. 17, 2002 -- The Utah 2nd District House race set records for spending in 2000 and pundits and political leaders had expected funds from the national parties to flow into Utah again.
The deluge that was expected, however, has not materialized and incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson seems to be pulling away from his challenger, Republican John Swallow. The Salt Lake Tribune has called the race a "lightweight skirmish."
In spite of the lower overall numbers, Matheson appears to have a substantial fundraising lead.
"In 2000, nearly $4 million was spent by various candidates, parties and groups in the 2nd District. In 2002, the 2nd District battle could end up costing about half that much unless outside groups start pumping money in quickly. But there are two weeks left before the election, still time for last-minute ad blitzes. Matheson has a healthy $354,000 in cash to spend these last weeks, while Swallow has $166,000 in cash," reported the Deseret News on Oct. 16.
The Salt Lake Tribune noted on Oct. 14 that Matheson had won the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful business group that opposed him during the last election.
Swallow, meanwhile, has begun touting his support of and relationship with Pres. Bush in his first television ad of the campaign.
Matheson was leading Swallow 45 percent to 37 percent according to a Republican poll taken near the end of September.
Obersvers say Matheson may owe his lead to the fact that he seems to have been helped more by his national and state party organizations than has Swallow.
"More than one-fourth of the incumbent's total ad campaign so far has been paid for by the national and state parties, at a cost of about $160,000. The GOP has dribbled in less than $23,000 for Swallow, or less than 7 percent of his TV costs," reported the Tribune.
Swallow's camp and the Republican party have pointed out that that party luminaries like Vice President Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have come to Utah on Swallow's behalf.