Wilson builds on fundraising edge over Ybarra

Building on her numbers from the spring, Cindy Wilson heads into the final four weeks of the campaign with nearly a 4-to-1 fundraising advantage over state superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

Wednesday was deadline day — and statewide candidates were required to report their fundraising and campaign spending activity through Sept. 30.

In the race for state superintendent, the story hasn’t changed much since the May primaries.

Wilson, a Meridian Democrat, continued to outraise her opponents. Leading up to the May 15 primaries, Wilson raised more money than the other three Democratic and Republican superintendent candidates, combined.

In the previous fundraising period, running from April 30 through May 25, Wilson raised nearly $19,000 to Ybarra’s $2,600.

For Ybarra, a Mountain Home Republican seeking her second four-year term, a fundraising disadvantage is not new. Ybarra’s opponents outraised her before the 2014 primary and general election, and Ybarra won both times.

Here’s a closer look at the numbers (click on candidate names for links to the reports): 

Wilson. Raised $63,118, spent $57,037. Cash on hand, $42,768.

The retired Boise teacher received maximum $5,000 donations from A J Balukoff, the former Boise School District trustee and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate; Balukoff’s wife, Susie Balukoff; and Russell Buschert of Eagle.

Wilson’s donor list also includes Boise Mayor Dave Bieter; state Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, a retired teacher who sits on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Senate Education Committee; and Boise district Superintendent Don Coberly.

Ybarra. Raised $17,969, spent $15,555. Cash on hand, $11,181.

Ybarra’s largest single donation comes from the Idaho Federation of Republican Women in Nampa, which contributed $3,000.

Ybarra also received $4,400 from timber and logging groups, donations that would appear related to the state superintendent’s seat on the Idaho Land Board, which oversees state endowment lands. Ybarra also received support from three fellow Land Board members: Secretary of State Lawerence Denney; Controller Brandon Woolf; and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Her supporter list also includes Madison School District Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas and outgoing state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene.

Governor’s race

Brad Little, Republican. Raised $724,569, spent $266,057. Cash on hand, $519,840. Outstanding campaign debt, $800,000.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little

Little received several donations with a direct education tie-in.

Little received an additional $500 from the Idaho Education Association’s Political Action Committee for Education, which also supported Little in the GOP primary. He also received $5,000 from Syringa Networks, the communications company that successfully sued the state over the Idaho Education Network broadband contract. Donors also include Mary Ann Ranells, superintendent of the West Ada School District; Wayne Rush, superintendent of Little’s hometown Emmett School District; and Chuck Zimmerly, a top aide to Ybarra.

The latest sunshine report also reveals some closing of Republican ranks. Little received a maximum $5,000 donation from Tommy Ahlquist, one of Little’s opponents in the May gubernatorial primary. Little also received $5,000 from Milford Terrell, a former State Board of Education member who had served as treasurer for Rep. Raul Labrador’s gubernatorial campaign. Little’s donor list includes more than 30 sitting or outgoing Republican legislators, a mix of conservative and moderate lawmakers.

Other notable donors: Rod Lewis, a former State Board of Education member, $5,000; Molina Healthcare Inc., Long Beach, Calif., $5,000; Idaho Land Fund, $5,000.

Paulette Jordan, Democrat. Raised $472,940, spent $420,583. Cash on hand, $191,416. Outstanding campaign debt, $101,032.

Paulette Jordan

Jordan, who is seeking to become the first American Indian governor in U.S. history, raised more than $55,000 from tribal governments from Connecticut to Washington state. She received $5,000 apiece from Idaho’s Kootenai tribe, the Shoshone-Bannock tribes and the Coeur d’Alene tribe, where Jordan is a member.

Among Jordan’s other notable donations: $1,500 from former Vice President Al Gore; $1,000 from People for the American Way, a progressive Washington, D.C. advocacy organization; and $500 from Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the first American Indian to serve in the U.S. Senate. Campbell, from Colorado, switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP during his time in the Senate.

Idaho Democratic leaders and sitting legislators are notably absent from Jordan’s 253-page report. One exception is Rep. Margaret Gannon of St. Maries, who was appointed to replace Jordan in early 2018, after she stepped down to run for governor. Several former legislators donated to Jordan’s campaign — including former state Sens. Nicole LeFavour of Boise and John Peavey of Carey. Peavey also serves as Jordan’s campaign treasurer.

Lieutenant governor

Janice McGeachin, Republican. Raised $91,756, spent $38,108. Cash on hand, $56,910. Outstanding campaign debt, $112,604.

Notable donors: Syringa Networks, $5,000; Avista Corp., $5,000; Idaho Land Fund, $3,000; Idaho Power, $1,000. McGeachin received backing from several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Steve Vick of Dalton Gardens and House Revenue and Taxation Committee Chairman Gary Collins of Nampa.

Kristin Collum, Democrat. Raised $85,918, spent $27,587. Cash on hand, $62,985.

Unlike Jordan, Collum’s campaign tapped into a number of prominent Idaho Democrats — including Balukoff, Bieter, state party chairman Bert Marley and former gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady. Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett of Ketchum, Ward-Engelking and Boise Democratic Reps. Melissa Wintrow and Ilana Rubel were among several lawmakers supporting Collum.

Other notable donors: The Learning Tree, a Boise preschool and daycare center; and Alicia Estey, elected in September to succeed Balukoff on the Boise school board.

Secretary of state

Lawerence Denney, Republican (incumbent). Raised $23,440, spent $14,405. Cash on hand, $11,809. Outstanding campaign debt, $36,207.

Notable donors: Idaho Power, $2,500; Idaho Land Fund, $1,000.

Jill Humble, Democrat. Raised $21,742, spent $17,651. Cash on hand, $5,659. Outstanding campaign debt, $4,000.

Notable donor: A J Balukoff, $500.

Attorney general

Lawrence Wasden, Republican (incumbent). Raised $27,666, spent $18,428. Cash on hand, $53,672. Outstanding campaign debt, $1,516.

Notable donors: Google, Mountain View, Calif., $3,000; Ahlquist, $2,500.

Bruce Bistline, Democrat. Reported no fundraising activity and a $200 campaign debt.

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

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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