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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 28Jun00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Democrat Dunn Challenges Utah Rep. Cannon
Washington Post (Congressional Quarterly) 20Jun00 D2
By Mary Clare Jalonick: Congressional Quarterly

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The loss by two-term 2nd District incumbent Utah Republican Rep. Merrill Cook in yesterday's primary election in Utah leaves LDS Internet entrepreneur Derek Smith facing a stiff challenge from LDS Democratic candidate Jim Matheson. But the troubles Cook has faced have covered up the challenge faced by two-term LDS Republican Rep. Christopher B. Cannon, who is facing his own challenge in the general election.

The Democratic candidate that Cannon is facing, Donald Dunn, is quietly gaining financial support and recognition. Cannon is a wealthy venture capitalist, who has not hesitated to pour money into his previous elections. Yet, he has not donated anything to his own campaign so far.

Jeff Hartley, a Cannon spokesman said, "If [Cannon] needs to, he can write a check today for a quarter-million dollars." "All of the money that Donald Dunn raises, he can match in a day. We haven't focused on fundraising at all yet."

Utah observers have dubbed Dunn's emergence this year as a political version of "the tortoise and the hare." Cannon denies these allegations saying he's been too busy handling legislation to gear up for the campaign.

Recent polls show Cannon support at 35 percent while Dunn has 23 percent. Other candidates received 13 percent with 28 percent undecided. Dunn and his supporters argue that Cannon is too much of a "cheerleader for the party." He has been called too Republican. Yet in the sprawling eastern Utah district that includes Provo and Orem, the majority of Mormons with a strong conservative bent could prove to be a strong point.

Cannon aide Hartley said that for a Democrat to win in this district, "it takes a weak Republican or a couple of million bucks. Dunn has raised an impressive amount of money considering his age, resume and the [conservative nature of] the district, but it is far short of what he would need to mount a significant challenge."


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