An average of less than $4,000 raised per candidate doesn't sound like too imposing until you consider how little interest Greater Boise Auditorium District board elections have generated this century.
Pat Rice, the district's executive director, couldn't think of a single contested race for the board of directors between 2001 and 2011. After the board reduced funding for the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 2011 election broke the uncontested streak.
"There's certainly more interest in this one, even than in '11, which is surprising," Rice said Monday.
The talk surrounding this year's election has a different tone than two years ago, Rice said. This year, everyone wants to talk about whether the district should throw its weight - and considerable financial resources - behind a multipurpose stadium, new convention center, or renovation of Boise Centre.
No candidate has openly opposed the stadium idea, but three - George Tway, Steve Berch and Jim Walker - supported it most vocally. They were the top three in campaign contributions.
In addition to receiving $11,545 in contributions, top fundraiser Walker has the endorsement of Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who recorded an automated phone call in support of his longtime friend.
Tway, Berch and Walker recently questioned reports showing incumbents Peter Oliver, Rob Perez and Stephanie Astorquia had received no contributions and spent no money on their campaigns. That seemed impossible, since the candidates published a joint brochure in early May promoting their candidacies.
But the reports in question, which were due May 14, covered contributions and expenditures between Jan. 1 and May 5. Contributions hadn't started coming in by then, and the candidates hadn't received the bill for the brochure, said Jason Lehosit, who helped the incumbents' campaigns.
"How are you supposed to report something when you don't know what the cost is because you haven't got a bill from the printer yet?" Lehosit said.
Together the three incumbents raised at least $6,000, led by Oliver's $4,000.
As of May 5, candidates John May reported raising $2,800 and Noah Bard $999.
Sven Berg: 377-6275