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D.C. Notebook: Hatch's campaign spending untouchable

Published April 29, 2012 5:44 pm

Politics • Senator doles out more for fundraising than rivals spend on entire campaign.
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There is one guarantee in the Senate race in Utah: Sen. Orrin Hatch will not be outspent. No chance. Zero.

From the start of 2011 to the beginning of April, Hatch has dropped $5.7 million on his bid for a seventh term, and he filed that disclosure three months before Utah's June 26 primary.

All of the other candidates combined spent about $260,000, and the tea party group FreedomWorks has burned through $782,000. Hatch has spent more money than that just raising money.

So where did all of Hatch's money go?

Here are the highlights:

• $1.35 million covered the pay for employees and consultants.

• $840,000 went to R & R Partners, a Nevada firm helping him with media advice and ad production.

• $443,000 was spent on polling.

• $402,000 went to campaign phone drives.

And ...

• $905,000 was spent raising cash, covering travel, funding consultants and event costs.

While the senator's opponents scoff at his spending, Hatch's campaign manager Dave Hansen sees no problem with it and has no intention of slowing down.

"We spent what we had to, to do what we needed," he said. "We are not running a deficit in the campaign and will not."

And on that point, he's right. Hatch may have spent $5.7 million as of April 1, but he still had $3.25 million in the bank.

"High country" • The Recording Academy held its annual Grammys on the Hill event this week, honoring lawmakers who support its positions. The big honorees at the fancy shindig were Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and artist John Mayer.

But Hatch, who has long dabbled in songwriting, made a special appearance. The crowd got to hear his latest collaboration, a song called "High Country," which Hatch wrote with Monty Powell, a noted country artist.

The song, an ode to the West, includes this line: "There is no other place on Earth I would rather be than high country, my country."

Powell told Roll Call that he hopes to have another songwriting session with Hatch soon.

Trivia time • National Journal's Hotline held its Political Pursuit last week in the lead-up to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Reid Wilson, Hotline's editor, asked the trivia teams at the Newseum to name the five members of Congress, current or former, who have flown in space.

One of the answers, as Utahns well know, is former Utah Sen. Jake Garn, a name that the players easily tossed out.

Later in the program, the teams were asked to name the five Republicans who lost their primary races in the 2010 race. One person shouted out Cannon, meaning ex-Rep. Chris Cannon, who actually lost his bid in 2008. The team got docked points.

Romney-Reagan • President Ronald Reagan is an icon of the Republican Party, and it's not uncommon for candidates and politicians to drop his name in speeches.

But we heard a new one last weekend at the Utah Republican Party convention:

"I'm a Romney-Reagan Republican," Gov. Gary Herbert told a small crowd of delegates before the convention.

The new phrase isn't shocking — Utah Republicans love Mitt Romney — but the new tack is intriguing going into the general election, where Romney will head the GOP ticket.

And if you're going to saddle up with two Republicans in the Beehive State, those are the best two to pick.

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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com or mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.






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