Politics • The senator burns through funds as Liljenquist digs deeper into his own pockets.
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Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch has spent $1 million on TV and radio ads to serve as his final pitch to voters before the June 26 primary.
His Republican challenger, Dan Liljenquist, has countered with $152,000 in broadcast ads.
This massive gap is illustrative of the campaign.
Hatch has burned through a mountain of campaign cash as he seeks a seventh term, nearly $10 million in all, while Liljenquist has dug into his own pocket for more money than he's been able to collect from supporters.
Liljenquist, a former state senator, has contributed $400,000 to his campaign and scooped up $377,000 in donations from others, according to campaign disclosures released Thursday, the last reports before Utah voters will pick the GOP nominee.
"I would never ask anyone to make a bet on me that I'm not willing to make 10 times over," said Liljenquist, who also sought to contrast the motivations of his donors with those of the longtime senator, many of whom are associated with businesses that have a keen interest in congressional decisions.
"That's the system of patronage and payback. They don't give $10 million because you are a nice guy. They give it to you because it pays off," Liljenquist said. "We are raising it from family and friends."
Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen brushed off Liljenquist's jab and noted that the $10 million represents spending during the past six years. Hatch has spent $7.6 million since the start of 2011, when the race began in earnest.
"Candidates who generally have an abysmal fundraising report, as his is, usually come up with that excuse," Hansen said. "People give to Senator Hatch because they believe in what he has done and what he can do."
Beyond his own funds, Liljenquist received at least $26,000 from family members, more than 10 percent of his total fundraising haul of $208,000 in April, May and the first week of June. Other donors include fellow state lawmakers, such as Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, and Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George. He also collected $5,000 from Foster Friess and his wife. Friess made national news by bankrolling a super political action committee supporting Rick Santorum's presidential race.
Liljenquist had $164,000 in available funds as of June 6.
Hatch raised $569,000 in the same 66-day period and has $1.89 million in his account. That's after he spent $1.92 million since April 2, a massive amount for a Utah contest. Beyond the TV and radio ads, Hatch shelled out another $300,000 on mailers and campaign phone calls.
"We have spent a lot and we have raised a lot in the campaign," Hansen said. "But we are still very much financially solvent."
The Hatch campaign can largely thank PACs run by businesses and his fellow senators for that. PACs have kicked in $350,000 to his race since the start of April, though he also collected more than $200,000 from individuals. Among them was a $2,500 check from a "self-employed writer from Texas." His name: Karl Rove.
Most people know Rove as former President George W. Bush's political adviser. He also is the strategist behind the American Crossroad's super PAC, which plans to spend heavily this election year.
The money chase
Sen. Orrin Hatch has raised and spent far more than Republican rival Dan Liljenquist. Here is a summary of their campaign reports, spanning April 2 to June 6. The primary election is June 26.
Spent: $1.92 million
Cash on hand: $1.89 million
Contribution from candidate: $100,000
Cash on hand: $164,000
Source: Federal Election Commission