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Is Donald Trump Helping Utah Democrats Raise Money?


While 2016 could see Utah’s Electoral College votes go to a Democratic Party nominee for the first time in over 50 years, indications are that Congressional and state legislature races remain as Republican-dominated as ever. However, state Democrats see reason for hope in some contests.

Financial disclosure forms show some Utah Democrats have raised as much money as their Republican opponents in eight state legislature elections. Granted, that is out of 90 legislature races. Even so, three of those races feature Democrats who have out-raised their GOP opponents, which could help the Democratic Party reduce the Republican Party’s majority in Salt Lake City.

State Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon said that more people are contributing to the grassroots efforts and fundraising for the party.  

“Traditionally, Democrats do better with getting smaller donations contributors, where the Republicans rely heavily on special interests and corporate money to fund their campaigns,” Corroon said. “I think it’s what we normally see although, to a certain extent, we’re seeing more people stepping up and giving donations to Democrats because they really do fear what they see coming out of the Republican Party, especially on the national level.”

One legislature race even includes a Democratic challenger who has raised more funds than the GOP incumbent. Corroon said that the presence of Donald Trump on the GOP ticket could make more Republicans vulnerable at the ballot box.

“When you see somebody like Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, I think it definitely makes Republicans down the ballot more susceptible to a strong challenger on the Democratic side and that’s what we’re seeing this year,” he said. “We’ve got some great candidates who have stepped up to the plate. They’re giving it their all and not giving even the incumbents the slightest edge if they don’t have to.”

In many races, Republicans are still running unopposed.