A look through 1st District GOP congressman Raul Labrador’s latest campaign finance report turns up a bit of irony: Labrador’s biggest donation – $5,000 for the reporting period and $10,000 for the election cycle to date – came from the Every Republican is Crucial PAC. That’s ERIC-PAC, the political action committee operated by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Cantor was defeated in the Virginia Republican primary last month; Labrador mounted an unsuccessful challenge to his successor in his leadership post, losing to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.
Overall, Labrador raised a surprisingly paltry $48,145 for his re-election campaign during the two-month reporting period that ended June 30, while his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, wasn’t far behind at $42,838. Labrador’s total seems small for a second-term congressional incumbent seeking a third term; his campaign expenses for the period were $53,147. But he carried over big sums from earlier, allowing him to close out the quarter with $416,522 in cash in his campaign war chest.
Based on his spending, Labrador also clearly didn’t feel financially pinched in his campaign during the quarter. He continued to pay wife Rebecca a $2,022 monthly salary for working on the campaign, and he made $1,000 donations to three other congressional hopefuls: Dr. Chad Mathis, a conservative Christian and surgeon who lost a GOP primary in Alabama; Gary Palmer, longtime head of the Alabama Policy Institute who is running for Congress there; and Dr. Bob Johnson, another physician and Christian conservative seeking a GOP nomination in Georgia. Labrador reported no debt.
Ringo’s campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows some contrasts with Labrador’s. While $19,000 of the congressman’s donations during the period came from PACs, including the Comcast Corp. PAC at $2,000 and New York Life Insurance PAC at $2,600, Ringo got just one PAC donation, $2,000 from the National Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education.
Labrador’s individual contributions of $29,045 included donations of $1,000 or more from 13 individuals in Idaho; nine in-state donors who gave less than $1,000; and five out-of-state individuals, all of whom gave less than $1,000.
Ringo received more than 80 donations of less than $1,000 from individuals in Idaho; two for $1,000 or more from Idaho individuals; and nearly 70 donations of less than $1,000 either from out-of-state individuals or from individuals who donated through the Democratic Party’s “Act Blue” online fundraising site. Ringo ran up $19,500 in debt, all in loans to her own campaign, and reported $13,877 in the bank at the end of the reporting period.
Two new hopefuls
Two new candidates for Idaho Republican Party chairman emerged in two days last week: Cassia County Republican Chairman Douglas Pickett, and former Dick Cheney aide and three-year Idaho Falls resident Steve Yates. This comes as the party is headed to court in a lawsuit filed by its last elected chairman, Barry Peterson, who maintains he’s still in charge despite the failure of the June state party convention to elect anyone as state party chair. While other party leaders have scheduled a state Central Committee meeting for Saturday to choose new leaders, Peterson has called a competing meeting for Aug. 9.
He’s asking a Twin Falls judge to declare his meeting the legitimate one, though those endorsing the Saturday meeting date so far have included Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and the legal counsel for the Republican National Committee, who advised the RNC that the Saturday meeting’s choice would be the legitimate chairman.
Pickett, a rancher, has been a party activist for 14 years. In 2012, he ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, in the primary, garnering 44 percent of the vote.
Yates said he’s spent 24 years working public policy issues at the federal level and moved his family and business, D.C. International Advisory, to Idaho Falls in 2011; he’s a regular analyst on Fox News. Yates ran against Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, in the May primary, and lost narrowly with 48.9 percent of the vote.
Land board touts earnings
The Idaho Land Board, which consists of the state’s top five elected officials and is chaired by the governor, is hailing the state endowment’s earnings in the past year. The endowment fund notched a record 18.8 percent return on investments, and earnings from state endowment lands reached a 14-year high of $102 million. That included the take from a record 347 million board feet of timber that was logged from endowment lands, part of which had trees damaged by wildfire or insects.
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