Fulcher, Balukoff put money where their mouths are

Gov. Otter’s leading challengers have made large contributions to their own campaigns.

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comFebruary 1, 2014 

Republican Sen. Russ Fulcher and Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff gave $100,000 and $91,000, respectively, to jump-start their efforts to unseat two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter.

With 10 weeks on the campaign, Fulcher reported raising about $252,000, including a $100,000 loan from himself.

Balukoff, who didn’t announce until early December, raised about $111,000 in four weeks. Balukoff loaned the campaign $70,000 and added almost $21,000 in-kind.

Having estimated his net worth at $40 million to $50 million, Balukoff has promised a “shared effort” for his attempt to become the first Democrat elected governor since 1990.

Fulcher has said he would show his commitment by making a significant personal contribution.

Balukoff filed his Sunshine Report on Thursday and Fulcher filed Friday, for the July-December reporting period.

On Jan. 14, Otter reported raising almost $686,000 for the second half of 2013, none from himself. But Otter, who reported his wealth at between $9 million and $32 million in 2006, when he was a member of Congress, has self-financed before. Early last year, he forgave a $131,000 loan he’d made to his campaign.

Fulcher raised about $152,000 from individuals and corporations. Among those were three GOP colleagues in the Legislature: Sens. Dean Mortimer, of Idaho Falls, and Steve Vick, of Dalton Gardens, who each gave $500; and Rep. JoAn Wood, of Rigby, who gave $100.

Felix Nuxoll, the husband of Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, gave $1,000. Fulcher also got $1,000 from former Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, now a Draper, Utah, resident. Ullman got 8 percent of the vote in the 2010 GOP primary against Otter.

Fulcher’s largest contributors were Justin Wilkerson and Bonnie Wilkerson, both of Boise; each gave the maximum $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election. Justin Wilkerson is executive director of the Harry M. Morrison Foundation and a grandson of the late Velma Morrison.

Fulcher, of Meridian, is a commercial real estate broker. He received $5,000 from his company, Mark Bottles Real Estate, and $5,000 from Geri Bottles.

Fulcher’s other $5,000 contributors were Boiseans Diego Rodriguez, Lorraine Rodriguez, Larry Williams and Marianne Williams; FSF Inc. and WTL Inc., of Caldwell; Ark Properties and Casa Del Norte, of Glenns Ferry; Donald Brandt, of Nampa; and Mike Johnson, of St. Johns, Fla.

Balukoff raised about $20,000 from individuals, including $500 from the last Democratic governor, Cecil Andrus. Bev Harad, who served on the Boise School Board with Balukoff, was his only $5,000 contributor.

Those who contributed $1,000 were Claude Milton Gillespie, Jacqueline Gail Groves, Mike Lindstrom and John Stedman, of Boise; Margaret Graves, of Idaho Falls; and Neil Valentine, of Orem, Utah.

Balukoff spent about $73,000, the bulk of it on preparation and production of advertising.

Fulcher spent about $52,000 on campaign management, advertising, travel and other expenses.

Five of the six fringe candidates for governor reported raising no money: Walter Bayes, Harley Brown, John Bujak, Jill Humble and Steve Pankey.

Pro-Life, formerly Marvin Richardson, reported $3,032 in contributions, most of it in-kind from himself.

Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics

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