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Here’s a look at campaign war chests, eight weeks before Idaho’s general election

Candidates in contested legislative races have raised $3 million combined

Editor’s note: This story is part of a project called Democracy Day, in which newsrooms across the country are shining a light on threats to democracy.

With less than two months to go before the November general election, most statewide races have one clear fundraiser, while some legislative candidates are raising and spending heavily in contested districts.

Now that the primary has whittled down the field of candidates, just 21 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts have challengers for the two seats up for grabs in each district for the House of Representatives, and 18 districts have a challenger on the Senate side. Many Republican candidates need only make it to November to be sworn in to the Idaho Legislature by January, as they do not have a challenger in the general election.

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.

House candidates in contested races have raised nearly $1.8 million since the beginning of 2021, while Senate candidates have raised more than $1.2 million.

Idaho Democratic attorney general candidate raises money quickly after entering race late

Although he entered the race at theend of July, replacing Steve Scanlin, Democratic candidate for attorney general Tom Arkoosh has about $35,000 more in cash on hand than Republican primary winner Raúl Labrador, with $182,475 to Labrador’s $147,982. Labrador already spent close to $540,000 in the primary to defeat longtime Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for the GOP nomination.

A similar picture is present in the race for lieutenant governor, where Democrat Terri Pickens Manweiler has $106,288 in cash on hand, while Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, has close to $65,000 in cash. Bedke spent more than $761,000 leading up to the May primary to win the nomination over Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird.

In the race for governor, Gov. Brad Little retains more than $287,000 in cash from the $2.3 million he has raised since last year. He spent a majority of his campaign funds in the primary, defending against challengers that included Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.

Some Democrats enjoy cash advantages over Republicans in Idaho’s legislative races

Republicans are heavily favored to win in the vast majority of Idaho’s legislative districts, so much of the fundraising dollars are spent prior to the Republican primary, and many candidates don’t have a lot of cash left on hand at this stage of the election cycle.

But some districts remain competitive, with a Democratic challenger raising close to or more than the Republican in the race.

In the Caldwell area of District 11, Republican Chris Allgood and Democratic candidate Marisela Pesina are closely matched in fundraising totals for the House seat. Allgood has raised $22,804 and Pesina has raised $21,209. Pesina has the cash advantage, with $8,161 left to spend to Allgood’s $3,890.

In District 22, a large area between Ada and Canyon counties, Democratic candidate Natalie MacLachlan has twice as much cash on hand as incumbent Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, with $43,434 to Vander Woude’s $21,055.

In District 26, which spans the Wood River Valley and Magic Valley, incumbent Rep. Ned Burns, D-Bellevue, has raised nearly $80,000 total since the beginning of 2021. He has nearly $50,000 in cash still on hand, far outpacing his Republican challenger, Jack Nelsen, who has $9,651 in cash.

Senate races are tight matches in some areas, including District 10 in Canyon County, where Democratic candidate Bob Solomon has more than $24,000 in cash on hand, compared with $5,199 in cash reported by Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton.

In District 15, an area encompassing parts of Boise and Meridian, Democratic candidate Rick Just has $42,742 in cash and received a rare Republican endorsement from Sen. Fred Martin, who lost the primary election to Rep. Codi Galloway, R-Boise. Galloway has slightly more than $18,000 in cash, with a fundraising total of $50,668.

Note: To view the related interactive graphs, please visit:

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.