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What’s the average donation amount to Idaho’s statewide candidates? About $500

Idaho State Capitol - 2021
Otto Kitsinger
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Great Seal of the State of Idaho tile work at the Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Candidates will file January reports next week with all donations, expenditures

As donations continue to pour in for Idaho’s upcoming 2022 elections, the number of individual contributions to all statewide candidates is nearly 9,700, with an average donation amount of about $500.

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

Candidates for statewide office filed a 2021 annual report with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office on Jan. 10, which included all donations of any amount, as well as in-kind contributions and loans. Between Jan. 10 and the next monthly filing date on Feb. 10, candidates are required to report donations larger than $1,000 within 48 hours of receiving the contribution. Throughout the year, candidates will also file expenditures and other financial activities in monthly reports.

The individual maximum contribution for a single election is $5,000, but some individuals and businesses will give two $5,000 contributions at the same time with one marked for the primary election and one for the general election if the candidate makes it through the primary process.

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.

The Idaho Capital Sun has compiled all 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.

Candidates using thousands of dollars of own funds for campaigns

Gov. Brad Little has still not announced if he is seeking a second term in the Republican primary, but he has raised more than $1.4 million since the beginning of 2021. At a recent news conference, the Idaho Capital Sun asked Little if he was planning to run for another term, and he said, “I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Little has 1,769 donations as of Feb. 3, with more than $990,000 coming from Idaho sources. He has also raised $91,000 from donors in Utah, and more than $74,000 from donors in Washington state.

If he runs, one of Little’s challengers will be Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who declared her intention to seek the office last summer. McGeachin has raised more than $517,000, with 1,182 donations, the vast majority of which are from Idaho individuals and businesses. Her next largest source of contributions is from California, at $6,340.

McGeachin’s total also includes a $200,000 contribution from her own funds given on Dec. 31, as well as $10,000 from her prior campaign for lieutenant governor.

Ed Humphreys, who is also running as a Republican, has raised more than $253,000 from 508 donors who mainly live in the Treasure Valley area. That total includes $10,000 from Humphreys’ own funds.

Ammon Bundy, who is running as a Republican, shot up in the fundraising tally from $19,000 in large-dollar contributions at the end of 2021 to more than $292,000 as of Jan. 26 — a total that includes more than $91,000 in loans from his own funds to his campaign. Bundy has reported 890 donations, 30 of which were reported as in-kind, non-monetary contributions.

Steve Bradshaw, a Bonner County commissioner who announced his candidacy for governor as a Republican, has raised $51,381, which includes more than $1,300 of his own funds in the form of loans.

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

Paul Sand, a libertarian from White Bird, appointed a treasurer and announced his candidacy but has not reported any contributions.

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, who announced in November that he would run for governor as a Democrat, has raised $79,000 so far, about $5,500 of which has come from Washington state donors.

Democratic candidate Robert Dempsay, who announced his candidacy in November, has contributed $500 of his own funds to his campaign so far, while fellow Democrat Melissa Sue Robinson has not reported any contributions.

Fundraising mostly stagnant in lieutenant governor race

Two Republicans have announced their intentions to run for lieutenant governor, and both are members of the Idaho Legislature.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, has more than $434,000 in his campaign coffers, an increase of $1,000 since the end of January, compared to Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who has raised more than $371,000, an increase of about $11,000. Bedke has 552 donations as of Feb 3., versus Giddings’ 2,251.

That also reflects many more small donations on Giddings’ campaign. The average donation to Bedke is $775, while Giddings’ average donation is $164. Both have received a majority of their donations from Idaho individuals and businesses, but both have also reported a large amount of donations from California. Bedke has received $5,750 from California sources, while Giddings reports $9,020.

Terri Pickens Manweiler, a Boise attorney who is the only Democrat in the race so far for lieutenant governor, has raised $102,800, with an average donation amount of $529.

Three Republicans vie for Idaho attorney general

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 more than $76,000 in contributions, trailing far behind Labrador’s total of more than $293,000.

Both have high average donations — Wasden’s average contribution is about $1,400, while Labrador’s is more than $2,200.

Arthur Macomber, a Coeur d’Alene attorney, is also running for the post. Macomber reports a little over $97,000, about $40,000 of which are his own funds.

Dennis Colton Boyles, a Sandpoint attorney, appointed a treasurer on Jan. 7 for the position of Bonner County treasurer. Boyles recently represented Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in a lawsuit over public records and had appointed a treasurer to seek the office of Idaho attorney general in April 2021 but had not reported any campaign contributions.

Ada County clerk leads fundraising battle for secretary of state

Three Republican candidates have announced their candidacy for Idaho secretary of state — Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene and Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley.

Chad Houck, who is Idaho’s deputy secretary of state, dropped out of the race in December, citing a desire to spend time with his family instead of on the campaign trail. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has not announced if he will run for re-election.

McGrane has a large stash of nearly $176,000 from 683 donors, compared to Moon’s $110,000 from 170 donors. Souza is not far behind with about $95,600 from 139 contributions.

Still unclear if Idaho schools chief will run for another term

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra has not announced if she will run for re-election in 2022, but she has raised $19,855 so far.

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 more than $195,000 from 246 contributors since she announced her campaign in May, including a recent $5,000 donation from campaign manager Tyler Hurst.

Branden Durst, who is a former Democratic legislator running as a Republican for the office, has raised more than $29,000 from 128 donors.

Idaho state controller running unopposed so far, but still raising funds

Brandon Woolf, who has been Idaho’s state controller since 2012, is running unopposed so far for re-election to the post. But he has reported $77,400 in contributions, including a $50,000 loan from his own funds.