Rep. Rob Bishop raised no campaign cash between April and June of this year. Usually, that kind of inaction would be a reasonably good indication a member of Congress is preparing to retire at the end of their term, but that may not be the case with Bishop.
Even though Bishop reported no fundraising, there’s still nearly $300,000 in his campaign account - more than enough to launch a robust re-election campaign if he chooses.
Before the 2018 election Bishop said this would be his final term in office. However, earlier this year several Republicans close to Bishop told UtahPolicy.com said he might be having second thoughts about retiring. Devin Wiser, Bishop’s chief of staff, suggested Bishop may be having a change of heart due to Utahns “asking him to run again.”
The $300,000 in Bishop’s war chest would likely be more than enough to financially overwhelm any possible Democratic opponent. It’s more than any of Bishop’s opponents have spent since he first won office in 2002. The only exception is Democrat Dave Thomas who spent $704,000 opposing Bishop during his first run for the House to Bishop’s $668,000.
- In 2018, Bishop raised $1.1 million while United Utah Party nominee Eric Eliason reported nearly $240,000. Democrat Lee Castillo raised just $24,000.
- In 2016, Bishop spent $851,000 to Democrat Peter Clemens’ $123,000.
- Bishop outspent Democrat Donna McAleer in both 2014 and 2012. Bishop spent $525,000 and $403,000 to McAleer’s $268,000 and $229,529 during those cycles.
- Bishop’s $302,771 spent in 2010 was nearly 27 times more than Democrat Morgan Bowen. Bishop also outspent Bowen by a 14-1 margin in 2008
Since his first run for office, Bishop has raised more than $5 million in campaign cash. There’s nothing to suggest Bishop would not be able to bring in more funding if he decides to run again in 2020.
Bishop would also be the immediate frontrunner if he backtracks and seeks another term in office. He has won 8 of his 9 elections for Congress by at least 30-points. The closest race was his first campaign when he defeated Thomas by a scant 24-points.
If Bishop does not run for another term in Congress, there’s plenty of speculation that he could mount a bid for governor in Utah. Bishop was reportedly polling to test the waters ahead of a possible gubernatorial run last year.
Bishop was also mentioned as a possible dark-horse pick for Speaker of the House by Republicans and was rumored to be in the running for Secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration.
If Bishop declines to run for another term in Washington in 2020, several Republicans are preparing to run to replace him, including former national Republican Party member Bruce Hough, State Reps. Logan Wilde, Stephen Handy, and Paul Ray, Utah Credit Union Association president and CEO Scott Simpson, and Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt.