Idaho’s spendiest primaries: a look at the numbers

What’s the spendiest legislative primary in Idaho?

It’s no surprise. And it isn’t even close.

Through March 31, incumbent Sen. Scott Herndon and challenger Jim Woodward have spent $132,162 ahead of the May 21 GOP primary.

Anyone who has been following Idaho elections has been watching this Panhandle rematch between two Sagle Republicans. Herndon unseated Woodward in an expensive 2022 primary, in a major pickup for the GOP’s hardline conservative faction. Herndon now sits on the Senate Education Committee and the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

So far, Woodward has spent $90,707 to Herndon’s $41,455.

Spending in the District 1 Senate race has more than doubled any other legislative primary. But five other races have eclipsed the $50,000 mark, according to current financial disclosure reports:

  • Joshua Wheeler, R-Ammon, has spent $39,552 in his bid for a second term in East Idaho’s District 35. His opponent, Ammon Republican Brett Skidmore, has spent $25,419.
  • Twin Falls Republican Alex Caval has spent $34,046 as she challenges District 24 incumbent Sen. Glenneda Zuiderveld, R-Twin Falls. Zuiderfeld, a first-term hardliner, has spent $28,688.
  • In another primary involving a first-term Senate Education Committee hardliner, Middleton Republican Lori Bishop has spent $48,944. Incumbent District 10 Sen. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, has spent $7,905.
  • New Plymouth Republican Brandon Shippy has spent $44,229 for an open Senate race in District 9. Former Rep. Scott Syme, R-Wilder, has spent $10,399. The two candidates are vying for the post now held by retiring Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland.
  • Former state Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa, is outspending his opponent in another rematch from 2022. Agenbroad has spent $34,088; incumbent Sen. Brian Lenney, R-Nampa, has spent $17,397. Lenney ousted Agenbroad in 2022, in another primary pickup for hardliners; he also sits on Senate Education.
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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