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Eye On Boise

Independent campaign expenditures in Idaho races top $330K- so far…

It’s not just the candidates who are campaigning frantically as Election Day approaches on Tuesday. Since Oct. 19, nine groups have made a total of $330,077 in independent expenditures on campaigns in Idaho – and that’s just as of 4:30 this afternoon. The number could still go up.

The groups that spent the most: In first place, the Idaho Republican Party, which spent $131,822 on independent expenditures for specific campaigns. In a distant second place: “Responsible Leadership for Idaho,” a new Democratic PAC that formed five months ago, which spent $73,096. That was followed by the Realtors PAC, at $59,266; IACI’s “Idaho Prosperity Fund” at $35,200; Canyon Outdoor LLC at $11,033, all for Curt McKenzie’s Idaho Supreme Court campaign; and Conservation Voters of Idaho Action Fund, at $6,962.

The rest were under $5,000: Planned Parenthood Votes Idaho, $4,725, all for District 15 House candidate Jake Ellis; NRA Political Victory Fund, $4,544 in support of nine GOP legislative candidates and McKenzie; and Idaho Freedom Action, the campaign arm of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, $3,429, one-third against House Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston; one-third supporting his challenger, Republican Mike Kinglsey; and one-third against Bob Blakey, a Democratic candidate for the House in the same district, District 6.

So, who were the top beneficiaries of all this independent spending? Far and away in first place was McKenzie, who’s running for an open seat on the nonpartisan Idaho Supreme Court, at $76,487. In second place: HJR 5, at $56,194, all spent by the Idaho Republican Party using funds transferred from Citizens for HJR 5. Third place goes to Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, at $18,706; and fourth to TJ Thomson, a Democratic candidate for the Ada County Commission, whose $17,600 in independent expenditures all were made by the Realtors PAC .

(Note: To calculate the candidates who got the most, I divided expenditures that were made on behalf of multiple candidates by the number of candidates who benefited.)

Tied for fifth place were Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Sally Toone, the Democratic candidate seeking to replace the retiring Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, at $13,895 apiece, all from the Responsible Leadership for Idaho PAC. Close behind them was Laurene Sorensen, the Democrat running against Troy in District 5, with $13,261 from the same group. Independent expenditures on other candidates didn’t make it up into the double digits – at least not yet.

Want to see the full reports? They’re online here on the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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