- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Overstock.com executive Jonathan Johnson brought in more new campaign contributions in recent months than Gov. Gary Herbert as both men vie for the Republican Party’s nomination for governor, new fundraising reports show.

Reports filed this week show Johnson brought in about $329,000 from January through early April, with a large chunk of that money coming from the CEO of Overstock.

The latest fundraising reports from Herbert’s campaign account and political action committees show the governor added $183,000 in new contributions during that same period.

That doesn’t include money he transferred between accounts or a $40,000 refunded deposit his campaign had paid to a political firm it decided not to use.

Both candidates will make appearances Saturday at the state GOP convention as they seek the nomination.

The eventual Republican nominee will likely be favored in November because conservative Utah has not elected a Democratic governor since 1980.

Highlights from the latest campaign reports:


Herbert’s biggest donations included $25,000 from Layton Construction in Sandy, $25,000 from medical device maker Merit Medical and $20,000 from Price Realty Group.

Herbert also took $10,000 from biodiesel company Washakie Renewable Energy a few weeks before the firm was raided in February by federal agents with the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah has declined to offer details about the investigation but a lawyer for the company says it is cooperating.

Herbert’s campaign manager Marty Carpenter said in an email Tuesday that the governor may refund or donate to charity the money he has received from the company once the investigation has concluded. Herbert took $5,000 from the company last year.

In recent months, the governor spent $861,000 on his campaign. That includes $154,000 to gather voter signatures and guarantee himself a place on the June primary election ballot against Johnson if the businessman emerges as the victor at this weekend’s GOP convention.

Herbert will head into the GOP matchup with a total of about $828,000 in his three campaign accounts.



Johnson brought in about $329,000 in new contributions in recent months through his official campaign account and his PAC. Of that, $200,000 came from Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com. Byrne gave more than $100,000 last year to Johnson.

Campaign manager Dave Hansen said his candidate can’t raise the same levels of money as the current governor but Byrne wants to do what he can to help his friend.

Johnson raised an additional $20,000 from Phillip Hansen, the CEO of marketing company Clearlink, and $15,000 from real estate firm KC Gardner Co., in addition to a handful of five-digit checks from Utah companies and businesspeople and a number of smaller donations.

He spent $357,000 and had about $12,000 left over in his accounts.



Democrat Michael Weinholtz, the former CEO of Utah medical staffing company CHG Healthcare Services, raised about $20,000 in recent months and loaned his campaign $1 million more. One of his biggest donors was WordPerfect founder Bruce Bastian, who gave $5,000. Weinholtz spent $452,000 and has about $568,000 left over ahead of Saturday, where he’ll square off for the Democratic nomination against Vaughn Cook, a former county party chairman and CEO of a medical technology company.

Cook reported about $900 in contributions from donors and $86,000 in donations and loans from himself and his company, Zyto. He spent about $83,000 and ended the filing period with a $15,000 debt.

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