This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence arrives in Utah Thursday to raise campaign money for a GOP ticket that has struggled to draw dollars from the Beehive State as many major Utah donors have, thus far, been watching from the sidelines.
Pence, the governor of Indiana, is scheduled to speak at Sen. Mike Lee's third annual Utah Solutions Summit about the role higher education can play in meeting the demands of the workforce. Lee was a backer of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and has not endorsed the Trump-Pence ticket. He along with U.S. Rep. Mia Love, Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov Spencer Cox did not join a letter signed by other Utah elected officials this week backing Trump's policies.
At noon, Pence is scheduled to speak at a $10,000-per-person lunch hosted by Scott Keller, a prominent real estate investor and major bundler for Mitt Romney's two presidential campaigns. Earlier in the campaign, Keller also hosted fundraisers for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and gave money to Cruz, Kasich, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
He had not, as of the end of July, given money to Trump's campaign.
On Thursday afternoon, Pence is expected to take a tour of Welfare Square, the charitable operation run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Donald Trump Jr. is expected to come to Utah in a few weeks for a fundraiser, as well, as the campaign seeks to beef up its fundraising, which has been particularly anemic in Utah. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, filed about two weeks ago, the Trump-Pence campaign had raised just $187,012 from Utahns through the end of July.
It is a paltry sum based on recent elections. Utah darling Mitt Romney, for example, had raised more than $8 million through July 2012. And even if Romney, whose Utah ties made the state fertile financial turf, is an unfair comparison, 2008 nominee John McCain had raised $891,703 at this point in his 2008 election bid.
Even Democrats have been easily outpacing Trump in the Republican bastion of Utah. Hillary Clinton has raised $690,851 nearly four times as much as Trump in part by attending a Park City fundraiser a year ago and dispatching former President Bill Clinton to Utah last month.
Trump raised about a third of what was hauled in by vanquished primary foe Ted Cruz and Democratic runner-up Bernie Sanders. Trump has barely outraised Jeb Bush, who got out of the race in February, and Marco Rubio and Ben Carson, who dropped out a few weeks later.
Veteran political fundraiser and consultant Chuck Warren, who served on both McCain's and George W. Bush's finance committees, said Trump has two problems when it comes to fundraising in Utah and elsewhere.
"First, when he announced he said he wouldn't need [to raise] money and I think people took him at his word on that," Warren said.
"[Second], there is no fundraising mechanism in Utah at all," he said. "It's just sort of half-baked and money takes someone calling who has a relationship and asking them based on a friendship or relationship or twisting arms."
Warren said he was contacted for the first time in the campaign on Tuesday by email and asked if he would attend the $10,000 Pence luncheon. It was a half-hearted effort, he said, that came very late in the game.
Contrast that with Romney's machine. Eighteen months before the election, Romney fundraiser Don Stirling had Warren at breakfast making the pitch, both for donations to the Romney campaign and help raising money. There is no way to make up for the lost time, Warren said.
"Just because he's Donald Trump doesn't mean the rules of fundraising don't apply," Warren said. "It doesn't matter if you're Donald Trump or Bo Diddley, people aren't just writing checks. It's not what they're going to do."
It is true that Utah's most notable names are nowhere to be found at least not yet on Trump's disclosure reports.
Absent are people like Zions Bank President Scott Anderson, who has given more than $600,000 to political campaigns in the last two decades, or Jon Huntsman Sr. the new chairman emeritus of The Salt Lake Tribune who has given more than $2 million to political causes, or former Ambassador John Price, who has given more than $350,000 to politicians, including tens of thousands to McCain, Romney, Jeb Bush and George W. Bush.
By this time, Anderson, Price and Gail Miller, owner of the Larry H. Miller Group, had all donated significant amounts to the Bush campaign, but have yet to donate to Trump.
Steve Creamer, former president of EnergySolutions, who for years gave to both Republicans and Democrats, with donations totaling more than $362,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports, said he's not donating this year not because of Trump, but because he thinks the entire political system is broken.
"I'm just sitting it out. I'm not being involved in any way," he said. "I think we need change and Trump would certainly be change and there are things about that [that I like]. I think Hillary is too much of the same-old-same-old."
But Creamer also worries that Trump will "never be able to hold his tongue."
Bill Reagan, founder of Reagan Outdoor Advertising, is one Utah donor who has given generously to Trump, giving the maximum amount allowed early on, as he has done with previous candidates. He said in an interview in July that he expected others will come around and the party will unify behind Trump.
"I don't know that Trump could ever get the support from Utah that Romney got. But I think when people get thinking about what's at stake, and the Supreme Court appointments are very significant, [as are] control of the Senate and House" donors will unite, he said.
Reagan compared the supporters to streams that need to come together to form powerful rivers. "We've got to get the party together to form the Mississippi and flood the delta," he said.