This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • Four years ago, Utah was a cash machine for Mitt Romney.
The Republican presidential candidate pulled about $15.5 million from the deep-red state he now calls home and that has long considered him one of its own.
This time around, the presidential hopeful leading the fundraising race is actually a Democrat: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Clinton, so far, has raised $253,000 from Utahns in her White House bid, topping any of the Republicans in the running. Of course, GOP candidates together have outraised Clinton in the Beehive State, but the cash is split among several top-tier contenders.
Clinton is "in a very different position being the de facto [Democratic] nominee, and so I think for lots of people, it's easy to give to Clinton," says Matthew Burbank, a political science professor at the University of Utah. "But, for Republicans, you have to actually make a choice there."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is second in the money race in Utah, nabbing nearly $182,000 in his bid, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulled in $73,000 and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz raised nearly $60,000, according to the most recent reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Businessman Donald Trump isn't accepting donations.
Back on the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken in about $39,000 from Utah donors.
The state hasn't historically been friendly territory for the Clintons.
Then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton came in third in the 1992 election in the state, and some Utahns still harbor ill will toward the former president for his declaration of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996.
But a recent poll showed that Hillary Clinton the former secretary of state, New York senator and first lady would actually come out ahead in a race against Trump, should the two be their respective parties' nominees.
The online poll, conducted by Brigham Young University, showed Clinton with 54 percent support in Utah to Trump's 46 percent.
While Utah is unlikely in the end to support Clinton in a general election (the state hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964), her supporters in the state aren't shocked to see money flowing her way.
"She declared early. She's been out early, and people have rallied around her," says Lisa Allcott, a Democratic political consultant who was a Clinton delegate in the 2008 presidential race. "I think that the progressives in Utah are very much interested in having her as president. They came out early for her."
Allcott donated $500 to Clinton this cycle and purchased campaign merchandise that added another $235 contribution. She gave Clinton the maximum donation allowed by law, $2,300, seven years ago.
Clinton visited Utah in August to raise funds, an event organized by former Utah Democratic Party Chairman Donald Dunn, who had worked in the Clinton White House.
Several Republican candidates, including Bush, Sen. Rand Paul, business executive Carly Fiorina and Sen. Marco Rubio, have flown into Utah to tap the donor base.
None of them, though, is likely to come close to the $21 million that Romney amassed in his 2008 and 2012 presidential bids.
The Mormon candidate drew new donors and more donations than any previous political office seeker in state history.
"I would be shocked if Utah gives even a third to all of the other candidates that they gave to Romney," says Kirk Jowers, a longtime Romney friend and campaign-finance attorney.
Jowers, a Republican, says it's clear that Clinton is the front-runner for her party's nomination, and the base of money is hers to claim. On the GOP side, he says, people are holding back, waiting for someone to make a clear break.
"With Republicans, no one can quite believe that it's going to be Trump or Carson, but they continue to exceed expectations," Jowers says. "I've talked to a lot of people who are in the wait-and-see [mode]. They want to see it shake out more."
Utah donations in presidential race
Hillary Clinton • $253,166
Jeb Bush • $181,662
Ben Carson • $73,494
Ted Cruz • $59,556
Carly Fiorina • $47,180
Bernie Sanders • $39,170
Rand Paul • $32,729
Marco Rubio • $21,645
Source: Federal Election Commission reports