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.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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