Editor’s Note: UtahPolicy.com is reviewing several Utah legislative races this general election, with an eye toward those which have been close in the past in final vote counts.
Democratic Utah House Rep. Lou Shurtliff, D-Ogden, is hoping for another “blue wave” vote this year as the veteran lawmaker tries to hold on to her old Ogden City seat she won back in 2018.
Shurtliff was a member of the “good old” Democratic days in the Utah House when Democrats held hopes of actually winning back the majority in the 1980s and 1990s.
Shurtliff came out of political retirement two years ago when the seat opened up after the GOP incumbent retired. Her website is here.
Before Shirtliff’s 2018 victory, all of the Utah House seats in Weber County recently were in GOP hands, even though historically Ogden had been a traditional Democratic/working man area.
Shurtliff is now up against Republican Travis Campbell, whose website is here.
Two years ago, then-GOP candidate Lorraine Brown raised $51,079 in her race against Shurtliff, way outspending her. Brown ran again this year, and in fact, sued GOP Gov. Gary Herbert when she failed to turn in the required 1,000 GOP signatures in time to make the primary ballot. Brown lost in court, and lost to Campbell in the Weber County GOP convention.
In 2018 Shurtliff beat Brown, 52.2 percent to 44.7 percent, or by 797 votes of the 10,560 cast. Clearly, Shurtliff was helped by the “blue wave” that ran across the Wasatch Front.
But if a similar wave doesn’t hit District 10 this year, this is a seat the Republicans could reclaim.
Two years ago, Shurtliff raised $21,539, spent $19,523, ending her campaign with just over $2,000 in cash.
However, Brown’s 2-to-1 campaign fundraising didn’t result in a win with the “blue wave” back then.
Campbell is going to have to do a lot better than his current fundraising shows: He’s raised $4,015, spent $2,700 to defeat Brown in the convention, and has $1,800 in cash starting out in his general election campaign against Shurtliff.
Campbell works as a district staffer for retiring U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, in the 1st Congressional District. And working with GOP delegates on behalf of Bishop really helped Campbell in his convention win over Brown.
By federal law, Bishop can give his own campaign funds to local races. And so far, Bishop has donated $1,000 to his employee, or a fourth of Campbell’s money.
Campbell may be able to tap into some of Bishop’s traditional donors — although not likely many national GOP givers, who may not want to write checks to a Utah legislative race, especially with Bishop leaving the U.S. House and no longer influential on that stage.
Two years ago, Shurtliff’s largest donation, $6,000, came from the Utah Women & Politics PAC, a group that usually gives to women of either political party who run for legislative seats. (They did endorse Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, a man, last cycle.)
So far this year, Shurtliff has raised $5,942, when you include donations she has cashed since her last financial filing before the June 30 primary election.
She has spent only $82.06 — she had no intraparty challenger this year.
Like a number of urban Utah House districts, Ogden’s 10th is changing demographically.
The city is having a mini-rebirth, after losing population for years. No longer a railroad-oriented town, Ogden is seeing younger, more liberal people moving in.
Still, District 10 is majority Republican, one of the reasons Democrats were so pleased when Shurtliff won it back for the minority party in 2018.