Political scientist David Magleby – who has written books on fundraising by presidential candidates – is actually surprised that President Donald Trump raises twice as much money from donors in heavily Republican Utah as the Democrat. Joe Biden.
“The surprise is that he doesn’t go over Biden by 4 to 1,” says Magleby, professor emeritus at Brigham Young University. “Seriously, I’m not making this up. I mean, it’s a state that is predominantly Republican and even more so at the donor level. “
Trump has raised $ 1.37 million from donors in Utah so far this cycle, while Biden has raised about $ 617,000, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of disclosure forms filed by candidates with the Federal Election Commission.
In short, for every $ 1 Biden raised from donors in Utah, Trump raised $ 2.22.
But Magleby says Trump should do even better, given that the state has nearly four times as many registered Republicans as Democrats, and most of its large number of unaffiliated voters are Republicans as well.
Why is it not?
“I would say the reason is because Republicans in Utah are hesitant Trump supporters, not completely converted,” he said. This was seen in 2016, when Trump won a plurality of 45.5% of Utah’s vote – the lowest percentage of any state that Trump won.
Magleby notes that the situation for Utah donors was very different in 2012, when Mitt Romney was the GOP presidential candidate and the Utahns became major players as presidential donors for the first time that year. He said it was because Romney is a Latter-day Saint and has attracted large donations from members of his church – which have not surfaced for Trump.
Additionally, some recent polls suggest fragile support for Trump in Utah, although the ranges they report vary widely – from showing Trump as low as 5 percentage points here to 19 points ahead. .
Another area where Trump is politically anemic, Magleby says, is the number of Republicans in Utah who have given him the maximum allowable donation of $ 5,600 this cycle.
Tribune’s analysis found that only 18 Utahns did this for Trump (compared to five for Biden).
“It’s breathtaking. At this point, in a competitive race, you would expect [Utah] Republicans have to be maxed out, ”Magleby said. “And believe me, the Trump fundraising operation tried to get these donors to the max.”
He adds: “This is further proof that they [Utah Republicans] are angry with Trump supporters.
Another sign appears when examining donations to all presidential candidates this cycle – not just Trump and Biden. The Utahns donated more to Democrats than Republicans (but most of that was during competitive Democratic primaries when Trump only had token GOP challenges).
The Utahns gave $ 3.25 million to presidential candidates, and 57.6% went to Democrats, 42.3% to Republicans, and 0.3% to minor party candidates.
A look at some of the Utahns who gave the maximum possible allowed by law – $ 5,600 – to Trump and Biden shows some surprises.
The first is that four of the 18 Utah Republicans who peaked for Trump are linked to the controversial payday loan industry, which in Utah charges an average of 522% interest.
Trump has helped this industry. He appointed a new chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which quickly helped lift restrictions on these loans.
Payday lenders who have given Trump the best include Kip Cashmore, owner of USA Cash Services; Tracy Rawle, CEO of Check City, and his wife, Jan; and Todd Rawle, director of Tosh Inc., Check City’s parent company.
Another surprise is that most of Utah’s maximum donors apparently aren’t really permanent residents of Utah. They use the address of their vacation homes in Park City for their donations. This, of course, further reduces the donations (and maximum donations) that permanent residents of Utah make.
One example is Trump supporter Brian Fitterer who made his fortune in mobile home parks. In 2011, he sponsored the Miss USA Swimsuit Contest – a contest then owned by a real estate mogul named Donald Trump, according to Willamette Week.
Another top GOP donor in Park City is Jerry Grundhofer, former CEO of US Bancorp. A third, Edward Robinson, is listed in the disclosure forms as being retired.
A maximum of two donors for Biden live in Park City, including Mark Gilbert, UBS vice president of financial services, former Chicago White Sox player and former ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Another is New York lawyer Eric Robinson. And Park City donor Raymond Johnson is listed as retired.
Relatively few well-known wealthy Utahns are top donors. But one of those Republicans is William Reagan, owner of Reagan Advertising. Max donor Democrats include Kevin Steiner, co-chairman of Alsco (American Linen & Supply Co) and his wife, Alice, former executive director of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency.
Most of the rest are relatively unknown. The Republican list includes entrepreneur Shaun Davis of St. George; housewife Nadia Goe of Snowville; Joseph Johnson retired from Lehi; roofer Greg Kendrick; Retired Kurt and Elizabeth Ockershausen of Torrey; Robbie Pratt, President of Havenpark Communities; Mike Siaperas, CEO of Med USA; and physician Mary Tipton.
Many donors could not be contacted or declined to comment on the reasons for their donation.
The one who explained why he’s donating is Trump supporter Kevin McLaws of Santa Clara, who made dozens of small donations over time between $ 22.50 and $ 375 until he hit the maximum. He notes that he even voted against Trump four years ago when he backed independent Evan McMullin.
“I don’t necessarily like Trump from a personality standpoint,” he said. “But he’s a person who defends our freedoms and freedoms.”
He said Trump’s take on abortion was key to him. “I love children. The left’s push for late abortions and expansion… is at the top of my list of things that make me want to support our current president. “
McLaws added: “I don’t like some of his attitudes, but I know he’s going to keep America strong and safe for my children and my next generation” – and that led him to donate to the Trump campaign.