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More than $1.6 million already raised in Idaho campaigns for statewide offices

Idaho State Capitol - 2021
Otto Kitsinger
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Rotunda at the Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

As campaign season approaches, more than $1.6 million has already been hauled in by candidates for statewide office in Idaho, including nearly $600,000 to Gov. Brad Little’s campaign and more than $430,000 between three 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, such as Luke Malek, who announced he was running for lieutenant governor in November 2020, 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 outraising opponents 5 to 1

Gov. Brad Little is raising the most money out of all candidates by far, with $591,250 in donations as of Oct. 27 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 192 donations in excess of $1,000, the majority of which are from Idaho individuals and business entities, with 48 donors from outside of the state, including Arizona, Utah and Washington, D.C. Notable contributions include $5,000 from real estate developer Tommy Ahlquist and $10,000 each from Melaleuca Chief Executive Officer Frank VanderSloot and his wife, Belinda. 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 $104,500 so far, with all but two contributions coming from Idaho donors. McGeachin’s total includes $10,000 transferred from her previous campaign for lieutenant governor. 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 $155,020, 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 six donations amounting to $6,000. Steven Bradshaw, a Bonner County commissioner who announced his candidacy for governor as a Republican at the end of July, has raised $5,050, including $2,050 from his own funds.

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

Only one potential Democratic candidate in the race for governor has raised funds so far. Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, who recently told the Sandpoint Reader he is exploring the possibility of a formal campaign, has raised a little over $15,000, including $5,000 from his own pocket. Democratic candidate Melissa Sue Robinson has not reported any contributions.

Unaffiliated candidates John Dionne and Robert Dempsey have also not reported any contributions, nor have Constitution Party candidates Pro-Life and Chantyrose Davison.

Heavy fundraising underway for Idaho lieutenant governor

Three Republicans are vying for the lieutenant governor’s seat, all with ties to the Idaho Legislature. Former Rep. Luke Malek, who represented the Coeur d'Alene area from 2012 to 2018, declared his candidacy for the office in November 2020, and has raised $177,823 in the months since. That figure includes a $20,000 loan from Malek himself.

His supporters include former state Sen. Jeff Siddoway, of Terreton, as well as former Sen. John Goedde, who represented the Coeur d'Alene area and served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Former Rep. Maxine Bell, who represented the Jerome area in the Idaho Legislature, has also donated to Malek’s campaign.

Malek also has significant support from firefighters across Idaho, such as the Pocatello Firefighters Political Action Committee, Northern Lakes Professional Firefighters and Middleton Firefighters Political Action Committee.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who announced she would run for lieutenant governor in May, has raised $116,785 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 $138,856 so far, including $2,500 of his own funds. Bedke’s list of contributions includes funding from several legislators, including:

  • Rep. 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

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 $43,500 since her announcement in August, including $5,000 of her own funds. Other significant contributions include $2,500 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.

One candidate actively fundraising for Idaho attorney general

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has not announced if he will run for re-election in 2020, so there are only two official Republican candidates in the race — 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 $82,874 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.

Idaho secretary of state fundraising is neck and neck

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane and Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d'Alene, are Republican candidates for secretary of state and have raised nearly the same amount of money for their campaigns — about $44,000. Chad Houck, who is Idaho’s deputy secretary of state, also announced his candidacy for the position as a Republican, but has so far only reported a loan from his own funds of $5,000.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has not announced if he will run for re-election.

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 $7,500 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 $95,500 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 $6,500 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 $11,500 from business entities, including Simplot, Idaho Power and the Idaho Association of General Contractors.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.