Sunshine reports: Ybarra picks up pace; third-party donors back Wilson

Incumbent state superintendent Sherri Ybarra has picked up the fundraising pace as the Nov. 6 election approaches — a bit.

But Democratic challenger Cindy Wilson and her supporters could have a huge financial edge in the runup to Election Day. Much of that money, more than $400,000, is going into third-party advertising efforts.

The Republican Ybarra has reported raising $13,948 in October. Wilson has reported raising $17,931. At the end of the latest filing period, which ended Oct. 21, Wilson also enjoyed a big edge in cash on hand. Wilson had $51,414 in the bank, compared to Ybarra’s $6,478.

Tuesday is a key reporting deadline for candidates and political committees. That’s when they need to turn in forms covering their fundraising and expenditures for the early part of October.

Ybarra’s main fundraising report — covering Oct. 1 through Oct. 21 — outlines $6,948 in contributions.

Since then, the Ybarra campaign has reported an additional $7,000 in late contributions. Under state law, candidates must report any late contributions of $1,000 or more within 48 hours of receiving the money.

Ybarra’s recent big-money supporters include Potlatch, a Spokane, Wash.-based forest products company; Winning for Idaho, a Boise-based pro-gaming PAC; and Cathyanne Nonini, the wife of outgoing state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene. Ybarra also collected contributions from House Revenue and Taxation Committee Chairman Gary Collins, R-Nampa; and senior State Department of Education aides Pete McPherson and Tim McMurtrey.

Wilson’s October report, filed late Tuesday, logged $15,931 in contributions. She reported one large, itemized contribution — $2,000 from the Confluence Fund in Lewiston.

Neither report includes $10,000 pledged Monday by Idaho’s wealthiest resident, Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca Inc. Normally a prominent and big-spending supporter of Republican candidates, VanderSloot endorsed Wilson Monday.

The third-party spending also is breaking in Wilson’s direction.

The Idaho Education Association is using $249,000 from the National Education Association to run anti-Ybarra ads. As Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press first reported late Tuesday, the fledgling group Our Schools, Our Future is spending $157,840 on pro-Wilson ads.

Other thumbnails from the new reports:


The Political Action Committee for Education, the IEA’s PAC, gave $50,000 to Our Schools, Our Future. PACE also gave $2,000 to Wilson directly, and $200 to Pat Tucker, a Democrat running for a House seat in Idaho Falls.

Our Schools, Our Future reported $180,742 in donations during the first three weeks of October. In addition to the IEA’s contribution, the group received the balance of its money from A J Balukoff, a retired Boise school trustee and two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate.


Brad Little, Republican. Raised $265,548, spent $324,073. Cash on hand, $461,316. Outstanding campaign debt, $800,000.

Notable donors: K12 Management Inc., a Herndon, Va.-based online curriculum vendor, gave Little a maximum $5,000 donation. A host of other businesses and PACs gave Little the $5,000 maximum, including Idaho Power, Micron Technology and Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls. After the Oct. 21 filing period, Little received an additional $5,000 from VanderSloot.

Paulette Jordan, Democrat. Raised $125,265, spent $152,255. Cash on hand, $164,426. Outstanding campaign debt, $73,559.

Notable donors: Actress Susan Sarandon gave $250 to the Jordan campaign. She also received donations from two former colleagues, members of House Democratic leadership: Minority Leader Mat Erpelding and Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, both of Boise. Erpelding had endorsed Balukoff in the May Democratic primary.


Janice McGeachin, Republican. Raised $10,058, spent 17,931. Cash on hand, $49,037. Outstanding campaign debt, $113,015.

Notable donor: Collins also contributed to McGeachin’s campaign.

Kristin Collum, Democrat. Raised $21,250, spent $17,610. Cash on hand, $66,624.

Notable donors: Two former Democratic lieutenant governor’s candidates — Larry LaRocco and Sue Reents — kicked into Collum’s campaign.

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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