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Where’s the money coming from in Idaho’s statewide races?

The Idaho State Capitol in Boise is seen on June 13, 2019.  (Associated Press)
The Idaho State Capitol in Boise is seen on June 13, 2019. (Associated Press)
By Kelcie Moseley-Morris Idaho Capital Sun

As campaign season approaches, millions have already been hauled in by candidates for statewide office in Idaho, including more than $927,000 to Gov. Brad Little’s campaign and more than $355,000 between two Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

Idaho’s primary election will take place May 17, 2022, and the general election will be held on Nov. 8, 2022. The deadline for candidates to file for statewide office is March 11.

Many candidates have already announced their intentions to run for office, while some have not publicly announced but have started to fundraise or appointed a treasurer for a campaign. Candidates won’t be on the ballot unless they officially file for office in 2022.

According to Idaho law, candidates are responsible for declaring donations of $1,000 or more within 48 hours to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office. In January, those candidates will begin filing monthly reports for all donations of any amount. If a candidate declared earlier than 2021, monthly reports are required for 2021.

The Idaho Capital Sun has compiled all 48-hour donations declared by candidates for statewide offices into searchable tables sorted by the date of the donation. These tables will be updated regularly throughout the 2022 election.

Idaho governor significantly outraising opponents

Gov. Brad Little is raising the most money out of all candidates by far, with more than $927,000 in donations as of Dec. 9 and more than six months to go before the Idaho Republican primary.

Little has not publicly announced his intention to run for re-election in 2022.

Little has reported 306 donations in excess of $1,000, the majority of which are from Idaho individuals and business entities, with more than 50 donors from outside of the state, including Arizona, Utah and Washington, D.C. Notable contributions include $5,000 from real estate developer and former Republican primary opponent Tommy Ahlquist and $10,000 each from Melaleuca Chief Executive Officer Frank VanderSloot and his wife, Belinda. Recent contributions also include $5,000 from former NFL player John Elway Jr., $5,000 from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories founder Ed Schweitzer III, and $2,000 from University of Idaho President C. Scott Green.

Many of Little’s contributions are from businesses and lobbying groups, including Union Pacific Railroad, Idaho Forest Group, Idaho Association of Realtors, Clearwater Paper and Simplot.

Should he choose to run, one of Little’s opponents in the primary will be Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who has raised nearly $125,000 so far, with all but four contributions coming from Idaho donors. McGeachin’s total includes $10,000 transferred from her previous campaign for lieutenant governor and $5,000 from her husband, Jim, along with another infusion of $5,000 from her own funds. Most of the contributions to her campaign are from individuals, including Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, Southwest District Health board member Viki Purdy, and Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brent Regan, who is also a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors.

Ed Humphreys, who is also running as a Republican, has raised more than $181,000, mainly from Treasure Valley-area donors. That total includes $10,000 from Humphreys’ own funds.

Ammon Bundy, who has announced he is running as a Republican, has nine donations amounting to $10,000. Steven Bradshaw, a Bonner County commissioner who announced his candidacy for governor as a Republican at the end of July, has raised nearly $22,000, including $2,050 from his own funds.

Other Republican candidates Lisa Marie, Cody Usabel and Jeff Cotton haven’t reported any contributions.

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, who announced in November that he would run for governor as a Democrat, has raised nearly $39,000, including $5,000 from his own pocket and $5,000 from Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Fred Cornforth. Recent contributions also include $10,000 from Susie Balukoff, an Idaho philanthropist who is married to former Democratic candidate for governor A.J. Balukoff.

Democratic candidates Robert Dempsay, who announced his candidacy in November, and Melissa Sue Robinson have not reported any contributions.

Heavy fundraising underway for Idaho lieutenant governor

Following former Rep. Luke Malek’s announcement in November that he would drop out of the race for lieutenant governor, two Republicans remain. Malek said he supports House Speaker Scott Bedke in the 2022 election, citing a need to prevent extremism in the state. Malek, who represented the Coeur d’Alene area in the Idaho Legislature from 2012 to 2018, declared his candidacy for the office in November 2020. He had raised more than $100,000 by the end of October.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who announced she would run for lieutenant governor in May, has raised more than $146,000 so far. Among her sizable contributions is $5,000 from Doyle Beck, a board member for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and $5,000 from Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brent Regan, who is also a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, announced his bid for lieutenant governor in May as well and has raised more than $210,000 so far, including $2,500 of his own funds. Bedke’s list of contributions includes funding from several legislators, including:

R

  • ep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian
  • House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star
  • Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby
  • Sen. Van Burtenshaw, R-Terreton
  • Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian
  • Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell
  • Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley
  • Rep. Jim Woodward, R-Sagle

Former Sens. Jeff Siddoway, of Terreton, and Brent Hill, of Rexburg, have also contributed to Bedke’s campaign, along with $5,000 each from real estate developer Tommy Ahlquist and his wife, Shanna.

Terri Pickens Manweiler, a Boise attorney who is the only Democrat in the race so far for lieutenant governor, has raised $51,00 since her announcement in August, including $5,000 of her own funds. Other significant contributions include $5,000 from Fred Cornforth, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, and $5,000 from A.J. Balukoff, a former Democratic candidate for governor, as well as $5,000 from his wife, Susie.

With Wasden in the race, it’s incumbent versus several challengers

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced he would seek a sixth term in late November. He was first elected in 2002, making him the longest serving attorney general in Idaho history. He will face several opponents in the May primary, including former U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador, who announced the week before Wasden that he would run for the post.

Wasden has so far reported $23,500 in contributions, including $10,000 from the Republican Attorney’s General Association in Washington, D.C.

Labrador, meanwhile, raised $174,500 since late November, $20,000 of which came from John Odom and the company he owns in Nampa, HMH Construction. Odom’s wife, Trashelle, recently made national headlines when she accused Corey Lewandowski, who was an aide to former president Donald Trump, of sexual harassment.

Other Republican candidates are Dennis Colton Boyles, an attorney in Sandpoint, who recently represented Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in a lawsuit over public records, and Arthur Macomber, a Coeur d’Alene attorney who recently appeared with McGeachin at an event in Ammon, Idaho, to respond to press coverage of the public records dispute.

Two days after the event in Ammon, Macomber reported a $1,000 donation from McGeachin’s campaign.

Macomber has reported more than $84,000 in donations, with more than $49,000 of that sum from his own funds. His support also includes $2,000 from Doyle Beck, a board member for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and $5,000 from Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brent Regan, who is also a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors.

Boyles has not reported any contributions.

Crowded Republican primary for secretary

of state

Four Republican candidates have announced their candidacy for Idaho secretary of state – Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, and Chad Houck, who is Idaho’s deputy secretary of state. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has not announced if he will run for re-election.

McGrane is leading the fundraising chase, with nearly $65,000 in contributions, while Souza has reported more than $47,000. Moon, who entered the race in November, has collected $47,500 in donations.

Houck has so far only reported a loan from his own funds of $5,000.

Among those supporting McGrane are Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, former Sen. Jeff Siddoway, of Terreton, and former Sen. John Goedde, who represented the Coeur d’Alene area and served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Souza has received support from Siddoway as well and has received $5,000 from Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brent Regan, who is also a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors.

One candidate receiving majority of support in Idaho superintendent race

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra has not announced if she will run for re-election in 2022, but she has raised $10,000 since June. That amount pales in comparison to one of her Republican opponents, former president of the Idaho State Board of Education Debbie Critchfield, who has raised $122,000 since she announced her campaign in May.

Her supporters include several current and former legislators, including Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and former Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, who represented the Eagle area and served as chairman of the House Education Committee.

Branden Durst, who is a former Democratic legislator running as a Republican for the office, has raised $7,500 so far, including a $1,000 donation from Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brent Regan, who is also a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors.

Idaho state controller running unopposed

Brandon Woolf, who has been Idaho’s state controller since 2012, is running unopposed so far for re-election to the post. He has raised $15,000 from business entities, including Simplot, Idaho Power and the Idaho Association of General Contractors.

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