Everyone likes to back a winner. So it should come as no surprise that most political donations from special interests go to incumbents.
That wouldn't be a problem except for two things. First, as a Salt Lake Tribune report shows, so much donor money goes to incumbents that most Utah legislative races are uncompetitive. The people currently in office generally outraise challengers by a ratio of 5-1. Two-thirds of that money comes from corporations, political action committees and lobbyists.
Second, that process makes lawmakers beholden to the special-interest donors who paid for their re-election. Legislators can claim that they are not influenced by campaign donations, but it is a fundamental truth of human nature that a person feels obligated to someone who gives a gift. Legislators who claim otherwise are only deceiving themselves.