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Senate leadership PAC backs all Senate GOP contenders - except two

In practically every legislative district in the state where there's a contested race - and even one where there's not - the Senate Republican PAC has made a campaign contribution to the Republican candidate. The two exceptions: Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, in District 8, and Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, who's running for the Senate seat now held by the retiring Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene.

It turns out that Pearce was left out by mistake. “It was an oversight if we didn't make him one,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. “We need to make one to him. … It wasn't intentional.” Pearce, chairman of the Senate Resources Committee, faces Democrat Alma Hasse in the November election.

Nonini was another matter - it was no oversight. Hill said, “We had talked to him. He had $21,000 at the end of the last reporting period and his opponent had, like $30 or something like that, and it didn't seem like he needed the support on that.” He added, “Might there be feelings if he received funds from that PAC when some of the people that helped raise the money for that are people that he tried to get defeated? There may have been. That may have been part of our consideration, but it certainly was not the only consideration.”

Nonini targeted three sitting GOP senators for defeat in the primary, pouring thousands into their primary opponents' campaigns, but failing in all three cases to unseat them.

The remaining Senate GOP incumbents and aspiring GOP senators, even those facing long odds, got donations from the leadership PAC of $250, $500 or $1,000 each. Hill said the money was allocated “where we felt the need was, and where the funds would do the most good.” The unopposed senator who received money - $500 - was Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. Her Democratic opponent withdrew from the race in June. Said Hill, “I hate to appear behind the times, but I don't think we knew that.”
  


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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