This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Political campaign seasons always teem with golf tournaments, luncheons, meet-and-greets, backyard barbecues and other staged events by candidates to collect money from well-wishers.
If you look on legislative campaign-disclosure sites, those who fork over the most money at fundraisers are lobbyists or businesses and associations with vested interests in what happens at the Legislature.
Some lobbyists have complained about how many times they get hit up by legislators who know they might need them on a certain issue.
But one particular gripe from lobbyists who have a finite amount of cash budgeted for campaign contributions is that they are getting targeted by legislators who don't even face an election opponent.
A dozen incumbents in the Legislature this year 10 Republicans and two Democrats are unopposed on this year's ballot. But those 12 candidates have raised a combined $555,218 and have a total balance in their accounts of $317,525.
The money those legislators have collected is diverted from candidates with contested races. But those nonchallenged incumbents still have votes in the next legislative session, so when they say jump, the lobbyists jump.
Five of the unopposed incumbents are Republicans from Utah County, where Democratic hopefuls go to die. They are Reps. Kay Christofferson, who has raised $24,930 and has a balance of $20,317; Francis Gibson, who has amassed $54,701 with $22,151 left; Val Peterson, who has collected $25,253 and has $22,900 remaining; Keven Stratton, who has gathered $23,621 and has $14,556 left, and Dean Sanpei, who has mustered $43,128 and has $31,630 still in his account.
The other five unopposed Republicans are Reps. Jack Draxler of North Logan, $7,834 and $6,037, respectively; Mike Noel of Kanab, $18,780 and $10,815; Edward Redd of Logan, $2,991 and $2,356; Jim Dunnigan of Taylorsville, $92,180 and $49,113, and Sen. Evan Vickers of Cedar City, $113,953 and $42,380.
Vickers had a tough Republican primary fight with former Sen. Casey Anderson, who had bested him in the GOP convention. But he has still raised nearly $30,000 since his primary victory.
As for Stratton, he's running for the state Senate seat vacated by John Valentine at the same time he is the sole candidate on the ballot for his House seat. So maybe he needs that extra cash.
The two Salt Lake City Democrats running unopposed are Sen. Gene Davis and Rep. Brian King. Davis, who is the Senate minority leader, has raised $118,755 with a balance of $83,489. King has collected $29,072 and has $11,581 left.
Much of the unopposed legislators' expenses went for meals, campaign events and travel for their spouses. In the case of Davis, about $10,000 went to other Democratic candidates or to the party.
Best bang for the buck • It seems that Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, knows on which side his bread is buttered.
In a previous financial-disclosure statement, he noted that all but $422.60 of his $4,183 campaign expenditures were for expenses related to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or the Council of State Governments (CSG).
Ivory has made a living by going around the country selling memberships to his American Lands Council, which advocates state control over lands owned by the federal government, while sponsoring legislation to put federally owned acres under state control.
A spawning ground for much of his drum beating has been ALEC and other conservative groups that provide a stage for his sales pitch. So why not spend campaign contributions on junkets to help spread the word?
At least in the latest disclosure filing, with the election nearing, Ivory spent most of his $2,900 on actual campaign stuff.
A gift from afar • Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, got himself in hot water last spring, when he implied in a tweet that giving money to the NAACP makes one a racist. He quickly dialed that one back, apologizing to the civil-rights organization and promising to join it himself.
And he did.
On May 20, Lifferth paid the $30 membership fee to the Salt Lake chapter of the NAACP, using money from his campaign account.