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Opinion >  Column

Eye on Boise: A fifth of Labrador’s fundraising is for general, not primary election

BOISE – Of the $309,046 that Raul Labrador has raised for his run for 2018 governor so far, $65,000 – more than 20 percent – is designated for the general election, not the primary election.

That’s because the donors involved had already given the maximum amount for the primary – $5,000 apiece – and then gave more, also giving the maximum $5,000 each for the general election.

So does that mean Labrador can’t spend that $65,000 on the hotly contested primary election campaign, in which he faces two other high-profile Republican rivals, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Boise physician and developer Tommy Ahlquist? Not necessarily.

According to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, the impact of the general-election designation is this: If Labrador doesn’t win the primary, he would then have to refund all those amounts to the donors, as he wouldn’t be running in the general election. “The limits section says you’re limited to $5,000 for an election,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst. “So if he doesn’t go on to the general election, basically, he doesn’t have any ability to keep the money.”

But if Labrador were to spend the money on the primary campaign and then win the primary, there’d be no requirement for repayment, nor is there a restriction on when those particular dollars get spent. Hurst said that’s because the Secretary of State’s office wouldn’t know “which $5,000 is it.”

Candidates have been hit by this requirement in the past, Hurst said, after they gambled that they’d win the primary and didn’t – and had to refund general election-designated contributions. “Typically they’re legislative district candidates, and sometimes local ones,” he said.

Little reported receiving just $5,000 in general election-designated contributions so far; Ahlquist reported just $3,500.

Auction of Priest Lake cabin sites

Sixty-one cabin sites on Priest Lake, including two bare ones and 59 with existing cabins, are scheduled to be auctioned off by the Idaho Department of Lands on Aug. 18-19 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. All but four of the lots are leased to people who own cabins on them; if someone other than the current lessee wins the auction, they must pay the appraised price of the improvements to the current owner, along with paying the state the lot price.

The cabin sites all are lakefront; bidding starts at the appraised value of the land, which ranges from a low of $313,000 to a high of $707,000. There’s more information at

The state has been auctioning off the lakefront cabin sites it’s long leased to private cabin owners for several years now, as part of a shift in investment plans for the state endowment aimed at greater returns for public schools, the main beneficiary of the endowment. So far, Idaho has sold off 276 cabin sites at Priest and Payette lakes for $120.2 million; the proceeds are scheduled to be reinvested into higher-earning properties such as timber- and farmland. Most of the purchasers have been the owners of the cabins already on the sites, but some auctions have seen competitive bidding with others winning the sites.

An oddity

in the filings …

Among the candidacy and designation of campaign treasurer filings at the Idaho Secretary of State’s office is an oddity: three fairly obscure candidates who have filed to run for governor, all as Republicans, all listing the same campaign treasurer, Britne Tingey.

Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst said it’s permissible for someone to serve as campaign treasurer for more than one campaign – he’s just never seen anyone do it for multiple competing campaigns for the same position.

So I checked in with Tingey, who’s a math major at Boise State University. “So what it actually is,” she explained, “is we’ve got a friend, her name is Lisa Marie, and she just wanted to get a whole bunch of people on there because she suspects there might be some deceit going on with the polling and with the vote.”

Tingey is the campaign treasurer for Marie, a perennial candidate whose previous runs for office include running against longtime 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson in the GOP primary in 2016; and running against 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador in the GOP primary in 2014. Marie, who is running for governor this year, said in a May interview that she’s concerned that when she ran in the past there were “a number of different odd situations that were happening, things weren’t adding up.”

She expressed support for former Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson, who lost a bid in court in 2014 to keep his party post as two warring wings of the party fought for control. “I am the only one that has stood by his side to listen to what he has to say,” Marie said. She also said she plans to run for president in “2020 or 2024, depending if I win for governor.”

Tingey said the two other GOP candidates for governor for whom she’s serving as campaign treasurer are her husband, Steve Tingey; and a friend, Sidney Taylor of Kuna. “He said put my name, see what the percentages look like,” Tingey said. “I think more of it is kind of research on our end – we want to see what happens. … I like to think the best of people, so I’m just curious what the numbers will show.”

Tingey said there was no fee to file the preliminary statement of campaign treasurer, which is the first step toward becoming a candidate in the 2018 election, allowing a candidate to raise funds and submit campaign finance disclosure reports. “We didn’t have to pay anything. And you don’t even have to live in Idaho,” she said.

However, to get on the ballot as a candidate for governor, there’s a filing fee of $500, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The only way to avoid paying that fee is to collect 1,000 signatures from supporters.

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