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Chaffetz' long-shot opponent raised big money after iPhone gaffe

UPDATE: Since the story aired, Allen has continued to get donations. Her total is now approaching $400,000. You can follow her efforts here.

(KUTV) Dr. Kathryn Allen, MD, may have 30 years of experience as a family practice physician, but when it comes to the most powerful political tool of our age, she’s pretty much an amateur.

“Last night (Monday) one of my friends asked me if I was on Twitter and I said, 'Yes, but I really don't know how to light anybody's fire with it,'” Allen said. The friend figured, if Allen was going to run for congress against Rep. Jason Chaffetz, she needed to make her presence known on the social media platform.

“She put a post out that basically just said we have a democratic contender to Jason Chaffetz,” Allen said.

That post, went, as they say, viral. Allen’s Twitter followers jumped from 25 to more than 10,000 in just two days. She also raised, as of 8 p.m. Wednesday night, more than $80,000 in donations.

Many of those came after Chaffetz told CNN that some Americans needed to choose between their new iPhones, and their healthcare.

“I was just astounded that one tweet could set off a reaction like that,” said Allen. The doctor, who owned her own practice for years, said she even received a $2,700 donation from actress and liberal activist Rosie O’Donnell.

Allen said her interest in politics was sparked by what she called the disappointing election of President Donald Trump. Allen also attended that now infamous town hall in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, where Chaffetz was booed and harangued by thousands of constituents.

Chaffetz later suggested that many in the crowd were out-of-state, paid agitators. Allen, who lives in Chaffetz' district, said she was offended by the comment. After she said she was ignored by the Chaffetz campaign in email and on Facebook, she decided she would run.

The Democrat said she knows she is a long shot to win the seat, but hopes she can turn Twitter followers into voters.

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