OGDEN — Finances are vaguely even as the candidates toe the starting line in the race for Utah attorney general.
Republican John Swallow raised $679,000 to defeat his challenger in last month’s primary.
He has about $50,000 of that left, Swallow, chief civil deputy in the attorney general’s office, said Friday.
“But now that we have the nomination, we feel it will be easier than ever to raise money,” he said.
Democratic candidate Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, as of the June 19 reporting deadline, had raised $24,776, according to the lieutenant governor’s website for campaign finances, disclosures.utah.gov.
“That doesn’t show a lot, since we didn’t get serious until the middle of June,” Smith said of his $24,776.
Almost half of the total came in since June 15, according to the elections website. Smith didn’t have any Democratic opposition to worry about in his bid for the statewide office.
He will start gearing up his campaign now that he knows which Republican he’s up against.
But first he’s pulling a handcart across Wyoming.
The pioneer re-enactments are common in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints culture, he said, this one sponsored by his South Ogden LDS stake. He and two of his children are making the trip.
“No campaigning on trek,” Smith said. “I’ll have no campaign events that week.”
The trek will run Monday through Thursday, Smith said just before he left town Tuesday for a concentrated family vacation before the campaign grind begins to speed up. “That’s 10 days of no campaigning at all.”
Coincidentally, two adult children of Swallow’s will be making the same trek Wednesday through Saturday.
Both Smith and Swallow said the real campaign won’t really take off until September, with organizing and fund-raising the focus until then.
Smith’s last campaign appearance was a reception held for him by the Utah Democratic Lawyers Council at Salt Lake City’s exclusive Alta Club on June 28.
Swallow said his next campaign event is a reception at the Alta Club later this month hosted by the Elephant Club, a group of Republican fundraisers.
Smith has opened a campaign office at 1186 E. 4600 South and a website titled DeeSmithforAG.com. JohnSwallow.com emanates from his Sandy headquarters.
In the past 30 days, Smith said his campaign stops have increased to a couple of nights a week, on average lasting two to three hours.
He expects that to continue to grow, peaking by Labor Day, Sept. 3.
Smith said he and staff are already working on his television ads.
Smith and Swallow both said they will debate.
“I would like to debate in Southern Utah, in Northern Utah and in Salt Lake City,” Smith said. “I thinks it’s important for voters to see their candidates in action.”
Swallow may have a different approach for the debates. “One for radio, a couple for TV,” he said.
Smith is the political novice of the two, appointed to the county attorney’s post in May 2009 when fellow Democrat Mark DeCaria was named a judge. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010.
Swallow served three terms in the Utah Legislature before two unsuccessful attempts to dislodge Democrat Jim Matheson from Congress in 2002 and 2004.
In 2009, he was appointed chief civil deputy to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, the three-term Republican who is not seeking re-election.
“Campaigns are like short-track Olympic speed skating,” Swallow said. “Most of the time, you’re bunched up together lap after lap. Then there’s the mad dash for the finish line.”