Finance reports: Democrats hold leads in fundraising

(UPDATED, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, to reflect a loan to Holli Woodings’ campaign.)

In three statewide races, Democratic candidates enjoy a significant fundraising advantages heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff raised — and spent — more than $1.8 million on his bid to unseat GOP incumbent Butch Otter.

However, the accountant, prominent businessman and Boise School Board member self-financed the bulk of his campaign. Meanwhile, Otter raised more than $600,000 during the summer, and heads into the campaign home stretch with more than a 10-to-1 advantage in cash on hand. Otter also holds a 24-point lead in a CBS/New York Times/YouGov poll released Oct. 1; Otter was up on Balukoff, 57 percent to 33 percent. (Details from Emilie Ritter Saunders at Boise State Public Radio.)

For Democrats, the fundraising advantages were more clear in two open statewide races.

Through the summer, state superintendent’s candidate Jana Jones continued to pad her fundraising advantage over Republican Sherri Ybarra, as the candidates vie to succeed outgoing Republican Tom Luna.

In the race succeed three-term Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Democratic state Rep. Holli Woodings of Boise has built a sizable fundraising edge over state Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, a former House speaker. But Woodings boosted her account by making a $90,000 loan to her campaign.

For statewide candidates, a moment of truth came Friday, with campaign finance reports due by the day’s end. The reports cover the period from May 31 through Sept. 30 — providing the best and most current snapshot of candidate fundraising heading into the final weeks of the election.

For backstory, here is our June 21 story breaking down the post-primary sunshine reports, which show contributions through May 30.


A.J. Balukoff. The Democratic nominee raised $1,817,281.99 in the four-month finance period, spending $1,802,635.82. He has $52,467.39 on hand.

Balukoff contributed $1,590,350 of this money — accounting for close to 88 percent of his total contributions.

Some of Balukoff’s largest contributions come from labor interests: the AFL-CIO ($6,350); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Works ($5,000); a Pocatello-based iron workers’ local ($5,000); and the Political Action Committee for Education, the political arm of the Idaho Education Association ($2,500). Other prominent donors include Boise developer Tommy Ahlquist ($5,000); former gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brady and Robert Huntley ($450 and $250, respectively); and Republican Steve Smylie, a former legislator, state superintendent’s candidate and the son of former Gov. Robert Smylie ($250).

Butch Otter. The eight-year incumbent raised $613,697.59 during the summer and spent $476,235.

His key advantage, less than four weeks out from the Nov. 4 election is in cash on hand. He has $588,852.31 in his war chest.

A number of Otter’s biggest contributions came from out-of-state interests and political action committees. That list includes Education Networks of America, the Nashville, Tenn. company that holds controversial contracts to install broadband and WiFi into Idaho schools. ENA contributed $5,000 to Otter. Also noteworthy: a $5,000 contribution from Anheuser-Busch, which supported state Sen. Russ Fulcher in the GOP gubernatorial primary; $5,000 from Dallas-based business mogul T. Boone Pickens; $5,000 from pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc.; and $2,500 from the National Rifle Association’s PAC.

Otter’s Idaho donors include more than 20 sitting legislators. Prominent in-state supporters include Ysursa ($5,000); Lt. Gov. Brad Little ($5,000); lobbyist Jerry Deckard ($5,000); lobbyist Roy Eiguren ($2,500); the Idaho Land Fund ($2,500); and Idaho Power lobbyist and former Otter chief of staff Jeff Malmen ($2,000).

John Bujak. The Libertarian candidate, a former Canyon County prosecutor, reported raising $18,072 and spending $12,296.43. He’s left with $5,775.57 cash on hand. Bujak has also made a $10,000 loan to his campaign.

Pro-Life. The Letha independent and perennial candidate has raised $7,407 through Sept. 30, spending $7,252. He had $197 in cash on hand.

His report lists only four itemized contributions — all personal donations to his campaign.

Jill Humble. The Boise independent reported raising and spending 1,088.53, leaving no cash on hand. The largest was an $833.81 contribution from Humble and her husband, Allen.

Kurt Wertzbaugher. The Payette independent reported contributing $170.77 to his campaign. He has no cash on hand.

Larry Allen White. The Nampa independent reported no fundraising. He spent $20.99.

Superintendent of public instruction

Jana Jones. The Idaho Falls Democrat and former deputy state superintendent raised $63,609.62 through the filing period. She spent $50,987.40, and has $33,238.03 on hand.

Her largest single donation came from PACE, which contributed $5,000. The state Democratic Party contributed $1,573, and the Idaho AFL-CIO contributed $1,000. The list of individual donors includes former Boise district Superintendent and state superintendent’s candidate Stan Olson ($100) and former Gov. Cecil Andrus ($150). Several Democratic legislators contributed to Jones’ campaign, including Sen. Michelle Stennett of Ketchum ($200); Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb of Boise ($100); Rep. Grant Burgoyne of Boise ($100); and Rp. Hy Kloc of Boise ($250).

Sherri Ybarra. The Republican nominee and Mountain Home school administrator is trailing badly in the money race, heading into the campaign’s final month.

She reported raising another $22,182.77 — but that figure includes $4,390 in donations that came in after the filing period, which ended Sept. 30. She spent $10,955.08, and has $11,521.56 on hand.

Notable donors to Ybarra include House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, Eagle ($1,000); Lt. Gov. Brad Little ($500); Sen. Bert Brackett, Rogerson ($500); Rep. Gary Collins, Nampa ($500); Rep. Kelley Packer, McCammon ($500); Sen. Chuck Winder, Boise ($250); Rep. Stephen Hartgen, Twin Falls ($250); Sen. Jim Patrick, Twin Falls ($250); and Sen. Steven Thayn, Emmett ($100).

Secretary of state

Holli Woodings. Woodings raised $176,729.98 in the latest filing period. She spent $117,036.09 and has $81,936.20 heading into the home stretch of the campaign.

The largest donation in the period comes in the form of a $90,000 loan Woodings made to her campaign on Aug. 6. Donors include a long list of prominent Democrats, including former Gov. Cecil Andrus ($100) and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter ($250). But the list includes two well-known lobbyists who served as Republicans in the Legislature: Bill Roden ($250) and Deckard ($500). Woodings also received money from two Twin Falls Republicans who recently served in the Legislature: former Sen. Chuck Coiner ($1,000) and former Rep. Leon Smith ($500.)

Smith had chaired the House Transportation Committee, but after the 2011 session, then-Speaker Denney stripped Smith of the chairmanship.

Lawerence Denney. Denney raised $96,642.29 in the filing period. He spent $56,498.17, leaving $43,287.23 on hand.

Key donors include more than two dozen current Republican legislators. The list is headed by House Speaker Scott Bedke of Oakley ($500); Bedke ousted Denney as speaker in December 2012. Other key donors from this filing period include Melaleuca, an Idaho Falls personal products company ($5,000); U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador ($1,000); and the Idaho Land Fund ($2,000).

Disclosure: J.B. Scott is affiliated with the Idaho Land Fund. He is also board chairman of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which funds Idaho Education News.


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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