Over two days, Oct. 18-19, Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador sent campaign contributions of either $250 or $500 to 40 GOP candidates for the Idaho Legislature, plus $10,000 to the Idaho Republican Party, which has been gathering big donations from various groups to run a campaign in favor of HJR 5, the administrative rules constitutional amendment.
The giving to legislative candidates came as Labrador has been openly mulling whether to run for governor in 2018; two other GOP candidates, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and former state Sen. Russ Fulcher, already have announced they’re in the race. Currently, Labrador is seeking re-election to a fourth term in the U.S. House; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The Idaho Republican Party has filed 48-hour reports disclosing last-minute big contributions of $56,194 from Citizens for HJR 5 on Oct. 25; $15,000 from Speaker Scott Bedke’s New Horizons PAC the same day; $1,000 from Anderst for Idaho on Oct. 26; $3,000 from RAI Services Company, the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, also on Oct. 26; and the $10,000 from Labrador, reported as received on Oct. 28.
Labrador’s contributions to GOP legislative hopefuls included 23 to sitting senators or representatives who face Democratic challengers in the Nov. 8 election; three to Republican candidates who face only third-party challengers; and one to a representative who’s unopposed, Rep. James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian. Labrador also gave to eight GOP candidates running in contested races against Democratic challengers for open seats, and to four GOP challengers who are running against sitting Democratic state lawmakers. Those targeted Democratic incumbents are Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer; Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise; and Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise.
The three GOP candidates who got campaign contributions from Labrador despite facing only third-party incumbents on the ballot next week were Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian; Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett; and Dorothy Moon, who defeated Rep. Merrill Beyeler, R-Leadore, in the May GOP primary.
The 23 GOP incumbents who face Democratic challengers and got donations from Labrador were Sens. Keough, Lodge, Hagedorn, Martin, Winder, Heider, Patrick, and Mark Harris; and Reps. Dixon, Redman, Troy, Hixon, Chaney, Moyle, Luker, McDonald, Steven Harris, Dayley, Clow, Hartgen, Miller, Thompson, and Trujillo.
Labrador’s donations were disclosed on his pre-general election report filed with the Federal Election Commission, which covers the time period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. In his previous report, which covered the quarter from July 1 to Sept. 30, he showed several more donations made in September: $500 to Luker; $500 to former state GOP Rep. Thyra Stevenson, who’s running for her former seat in District 6; and $500 to GOP candidate Mike Kingsley, who’s challenging House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston. During that reporting period, Labrador also donated to six GOP congressional campaigns in other states.