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Idaho House candidates pull in $1.2 million in fundraising

The rotunda at the Idaho Capitol on Jan. 17, 2022. (Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun)
Otto Kitsinger
The rotunda at the Idaho Capitol on Jan. 17, 2022. (Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun)

With about half of the seats up for grabs without an incumbent opponent, candidates rake in funds

Approximately half of the seats in the Idaho House of Representatives up for grabs in this year’s election don’t feature an incumbent candidate, creating fresh competition for funds for the May 17 primary.

Many House races across the state have multiple Republican challengers, with more than 122 candidates who have raised at least $500 since the beginning of last year. Out of those 122, 24 candidates are Democrats, few of whom have challengers in the primary.

Idaho has 35 legislative districts, with two state representatives and one senator for each district. Candidates are required to file a monthly report with theIdaho Secretary of State’s office by the 10th of each month, which includes all donations of any amount, in-kind contributions and loans, as well as expenditures and other financial activity from the previous month. The individual maximum contribution for a single election in legislative races is $1,000.

Across the 70 races for seats in the House, candidates have raised about $1.2 million with a little more than a month to go before the primary election. Incumbent legislators have large sums of cash on hand from prior campaigns, but some new candidates have also raised significant amounts.

A few campaign fundraising frontrunners for the Idaho House

Rob Beiswenger is one candidate with more cash on hand than others. Beiswenger, an Eagle resident who is running against incumbent Rep. Matt Bundy, R-Mountain Home, has more than $11,000 in cash on hand compared to Bundy’s $395 in cash. Beiswenger said in a candidate survey that he works at Money Metals Exchange in Eagle, a company that has donated more than $17,000 since 2020 to far-right candidates across Idaho, including Reps. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, and Heather Scott, R-Blanchard. The company is owned by Stefan Gleason, who has donated $19,500 to far-right candidates in the past year, including $5,000 to Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who is running for lieutenant governor, $5,000 to Raul Labrador, a former Idaho congressman who is running for attorney general, and $5,000 to Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, who is running for secretary of state. Gleason also donated $1,000 to Beiswenger.

Stephanie Mickelsen, co-owner and chief financial officer of Mickelsen Farms in Idaho Falls, has nearly $25,000 in cash on hand as one Republican in the race for an open seat in District 32. Mickelsen has significant support from business donors in Idaho, including BVA Development owner Tommy Ahlquist, Idaho AGC and Kirk Jacobs Farms. Sen. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, and her husband also donated a combined $2,000 to Mickelsen’s campaign.

On the Democratic side, Natalie MacLachlan has more than $28,700 in cash, running for a seat in District 22 against two current legislators who are running for the same seat after redistricting. Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, and Rep. Greg Ferch, R-Boise, will run in the May primary. MacLachlan has been fundraising heavily for months, with many individual donations, including from party-affiliated individuals such as AJ and Susie Balukoff, Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Jared DeLoof and Reclaim Idaho Co-Founder Luke Mayville.

What’s the breakdown?

Idaho’s primary election will take place May 17, and the general election will be held Nov. 8.

The Idaho Capital Sun has compiled the donations for legislative candidates into a visualization of the fundraising totals, expenditures and cash on hand for each candidate who has raised at least $500 since Jan. 1, 2021.

These tables will be updated on a regular basis throughout the 2022 election cycle.

To view the tables, visit: Idaho House candidates pull in $1.2 million in fundraising - Idaho Capital Sun

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.