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Campaign Donation Questions Persist In GOP Race

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With one week left in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, candidates Jonathan Johnson and incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert are once again both asking questions about the other’s fundraising strategies.

Herbert said that contributions to Johnson’s campaign by Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne should be seen as a legitimate concern in the race.

“Utah has been recognized now as the most business-friendly state in America today. That’s why they want to support me and that’s why I have a significantly broad base,” Herbert said. “My opponent has one supporter; it’s his boss the owner of the company he works for, where he’s a registered lobbyist. That ought to be concern. It certainly is a legitimate concern as anything is why is one person putting over a million dollars into somebody’s campaign.”

Johnson said that the issue is not the fact that Herbert is out raising money, which he said is a normal part of politics. For him, the question remains about what promises the Governor might have made to donors.

“It’s not so much about where he’s getting his money, but about what he’s promising to do for that money. Running for office takes money and I don’t begrudge the Governor fundraising,” Johnson said. “I’m out fundraising and I have one particularly large donor but I’ve never promised him anything, he’s never asked for anything. To me, what’s disturbing about the ‘Available Jones’ comment was when he told these lobbyists, if they parade their clients in front of him and they give him a check, he’ll get them the results that they want.”

Johnson said that his campaign’s grassroots efforts will make the difference on June 28.