Democrat Kathryn Allen outraised Rep. Jason Chaffetz by more than a 3-1 margin during the first quarter of this year.
Allen posted an eye-popping campaign cash haul of $564,091. Chaffetz pulled in just $176,521.
The massive haul gives Allen $534,278 in the bank. Chaffetz still trails in that area, but only by about $100,000 as he has $402,670 available.
Republican Damian Kidd who is challenging Chaffetz for the GOP nomination raised a little more than $15,000 during the period. However, he spent most of that, leaving him with about $1,500 cash on hand.
Allen’s haul was fueled mostly by donations that came in due to some self-inflicted wounds from Chaffetz. The Chair of the Oversight Committee prompted outrage when he suggested he would not investigate perceived conflicts of interest involving President Donald Trump. Chaffetz also said attendees at a February town hall that shouted him down were “paid protesters” and not his constituents. Chaffetz also was roundly mocked for suggesting that Americans should pay for health care instead of buying a new iPhone.
In addition to powering his Democratic opponent’s fundraising, Chaffetz’s gaffes dinged his popularity among 3rd Congressional District voters. A recent UtahPolicy.com survey found only 52% of Chaffetz’s constituents had a favorable view of him. That’s a considerable drop from the 73.5% he garnered in November’s election against Democrat Stephen Tryon.
The warning klaxon in those numbers for Chaffetz is 56% of independent voters hold an unfavorable view of the congressman, which could prove to be problematic for him in the 2018 election. But, he’s still seen positively by 76% of Republicans in the 3rd District.
While Allen’s fundraising is sure to get Chaffetz’s attention, it’s not a guarantee of victory. The 3rd Congressional District is one of the most Republican in the nation, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+25. While Donald Trump won the district by only 18-points in 2016, Mitt Romney carried CD3 by 59 points in 2012.
Additionally, Chaffetz has won every election since 2008 by at least 37 points.
That means Allen has a massive hill to climb if she’s going to unseat the five-term Congressman. Only five times in Utah history has an incumbent won by double digits the previous election cycle and gone on to lose two years later. The most recent was Bill Orton in 1996.