The fundraising picture in the lieutenant governor’s race? It’s complicated

The GOP race for lieutenant governor isn’t just an ideological showdown between House Speaker Scott Bedke against hardcore conservative Rep. Priscilla Giddings.

Former state Rep. Luke Malek might have outraised his two Republican opponents, according to an Idaho Education News review of finance reports.

Malek has reported $82,978 in donations. Giddings, of White Bird, has reported $53,000 in donations. Bedke, of Oakley, has reported $43,856.

A couple of important caveats:

  1. Malek entered the money race early. He appointed a campaign treasurer in December, a necessary precursor to fundraising. That gave Malek a five-month jump on Bedke and Giddings, who named treasurers in May.
  2. Malek is reporting all of his contributions, which exceeds the legal requirements. Candidates must report large donations of more than $1,000 within 48 hours, and they can report other donations later. Bedke and Giddings are submitting only 48-hour reports for now, while Malek is filing a full report every month. Therefore, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, since we don’t know about smaller donations to Bedke and Giddings.
Former state Rep. Luke Malek

That said, let’s look closely at the fundraising reports for Malek, who represented Coeur d’Alene in the Legislature, and now lists Boise as his campaign address.

Malek has received more than $20,000 from firefighters’ unions and loaned $20,000 to his campaign, but he has also picked up some name donations. His supporters include former St. Luke’s hospital CEO David Pate and former Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, among others.

Malek has also made inroads into Bedke’s Magic Valley base of support — receiving donations from Bruce Newcomb, who represented Cassia County as House Speaker; Rep. Laura Lickley, R-Jerome; Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls; and former Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson.

Giddings’ 48-hour reports have a bit of an Idaho Freedom Foundation feel: Donors include foundation board chairman Brent Regan of Coeur d’Alene and board vice chairman Bryan Smith of Idaho Falls.

Bedke’s supporters include Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, and retired state Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton.

A state superintendent’s race update

State Board of Education member Debbie Critchfield continues to hold a big fundraising edge in this GOP primary.

Critchfield, of Oakley, started quickly in the fundraising race after announcing her candidacy in May. She has reported $65,500 in donations over two months. Recent donors include Wood, and the two previous chairs of the House Education Committee, former Reps. Reed DeMordaunt and Julie VanOrden of Pingree.

Republican incumbent Sherri Ybarra has not yet announced her plans for 2022, but she has reported $5,500 in recent donations. The largest donation was $2,500 from Derren Barken of San Diego.

Branden Durst — a former Democratic legislator, now running on the GOP ticket — has reported no recent fundraising activity. In May, he reported receiving $1,000 from Smith, the Freedom Foundation board vice chairman.

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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