A $1.5 million spending spree in the governor’s race

(UPDATED, 5:41 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31.)

The latest scorecard in the governor’s fundraising race:

  • Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff has put $740,000 of his own money into his campaign in the past two weeks — including another $195,000 on Thursday.
  • Third parties have spent more than $637,000 on ads and literature supporting incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, or opposing Balukoff. These are third-party expenditures, and are separate from the nearly $86,000 that has gone into the Otter campaign directly.

In other words, a pretty even split. And nearly a $1.5 million infusion of cash into this one race.

For the past two weeks, candidates and third parties have been required to file “48-hour” reports listing any new donations or expenditures of $1,000 or more within 48 hours.

Here’s a more detailed rundown of 48-hour contributions:


A.J. Balukoff, Democrat: $748,000, including $740,000 from the candidate.

Butch Otter, Republican: $85,875, including $5,000 from the Idaho Republican Party; $5,000 from Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif.; $2,000 from K12 Management Inc., an online education curriculum vendor based in Herndon, Va,; $1,000 from House Speaker Scott Bedke; and $1,000 from Ken Edmunds of Twin Falls. In November, Otter appointed the State Board of Education member as Labor Department director.

Third-party expenditures: Various third-party groups have put $637,402.75 into pro-Otter or anti-Balukoff ads.

On Thursday, the Republican Governors Association reported putting another $227,299.19 into anti-Balukoff ads, on top of the $203,967.50 previously reported.

The Idaho Prosperity Fund, an offshoot of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry has spent $74,012 on anti-Balukoff literature and ads, and another $7,000 in pro-Otter literature.

The Idaho Republican Party, which has laid out $75,111.75 on pro-Otter ads.

An Idaho Falls group, calling itself Citizens for Change PAC, reported spending $39,814.31 on anti-Balukoff radio ads. This group is headed by Michael Batt, who also heads a group called Bantt LLC, which put $10,198 into anti-Balukoff ads last week. Batt has extensive ties to Melaleuca Inc. CEO Frank VanderSloot, The Times-News reported Thursday. On Wednesday, the Balukoff campaign called on the Otter campaign to disavow the radio ads, calling them a deceptive “voter scam” designed to sound like they were produced by the Balukoff camp.

Superintendent of public instruction

Sherri Ybarra, Republican: $5,000 from Idaho Republican Party.

Jana Jones, Democrat: $2,000, including $1,000 from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Secretary of state

Lawerence Denney, Republican: $12,000, including $5,000 from the Idaho GOP.

Holli Woodings, Democrat: $3,500, including $2,500 from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Fort Hall.

Other third-parties

On Tuesday, Idahoans for a Strong Economy reported spending $141,145.70 on advertising for Democratic candidates, including Jones and Woodings, and against Republicans, including Denney.

Also Tuesday, the Idaho GOP reported spending $65,415.35 on literature and postage supporting the Republican ticket and opposing the Democrats’ slate.

Republish this article on your website