Lots of donations in Idaho governor’s race - but the big fight is over horse racing

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By analyzing Idaho party registration data in 2018, the Idaho Statesman found the most conservative and liberal cities and towns in Idaho.
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By analyzing Idaho party registration data in 2018, the Idaho Statesman found the most conservative and liberal cities and towns in Idaho.

All Idaho candidates for statewide and legislative office, and all state political action committees filed their latest campaign finance reports Wednesday. The documents detail their donations and spending from May 26 through Sept. 30; they also list a candidate’s cash on hand, including money left over from this spring.

Here are quick highlights from Wednesday’s reports. Return to IdahoStatesman.com Thursday for more analysis and details.


Democrat Paulette Jordan raised $472,940, including continued support from Native American tribes: for example, $2,700 from the Yakima Nation. She also received $57,569 in contributions of $50 or less from 3,598 donors; their names at that level don’t have to be revealed. Jordan spent $420,582, in addition to incurring $101,031 in credit cards and debt expenses. She had $191,416 remaining as of Sept. 30.

Republican Brad Little raised $724,568, including $5,000 each from Molina Healthcare, ANRI PAC, United Health Group, Idaho Prosperity Fund, Idaho Land Fund, Idaho Medical PAC, Sun Valley Resort, Idaho Conservative Growth Fund, Enterprise Holdings PAC, phRMA, J.R. Simplot Co. and U.S. Ecology. Little identified the donors on all of the contributions, even those under $50, except for one, a $4 donation in which the campaign did not know from whom it was made. He spent $266,057, leaving him with $519,840 for this final month — but he has not paid back an $800,000 loan he made to his campaign during the primary.

Lt. Governor

Republican Janice McGeachin and Democrat Kristin Collum each raised about the same amount of money.

McGeachin raised $91,755; her 140 donors included corporations and political action committees. Among her largest donations: $5,000 each from Avista Corp. and the Republican State Leadership Committee; $3,000 each from the Idaho Land Fund and Idaho Federation of Republican Women; and $2,200 from the Canyon County Republicans. McGeachin has also loaned her campaign $112,604 and contributed $13,116 to it since Jan. 1. She has spent $38,108 and has $56,910 left.

Collum raised $85,918.30 from 400 donors, nearly all of it small donations from individuals. Her largest donors include $5,000 from Ann Voilleque, $3,000 from William Parks, and $2,500 from Eileen Barber. She also received 473 donations of $50 or less; McGeachin received 92. Collum has spent $27,586 and she has $62,985 left.

Secretary of State

Republican and incumbent Lawerence Denney’s donations included $2,500 each from the Republican State Leadership Committee, Idaho Forest Group, Idaho Power and Larry Williams. Denney has also loaned his campaign $21,206 since Jan. 1. He raised $23,440, spent $14,405 and had $11,809 on hand.

Democrat Jill Humble raised a similar amount — $21,472. She received a combined $3,000 from Democratic groups in Blaine County and Twin Falls, $500 from former gubernatorial candidate AJ Balukoff, and has loaned her campaign $4,000 since Jan. 1. She spent $17,651 and had $5,658 left.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Democrat Cindy Wilson significantly outraised Republican incumbent Sherri Ybarra, and had more cash remaining heading into the last month of their race.

Wilson raised $63,118, including $5,000 each from AJ Balukoff, Susie Balukoff and Russell Buschert; $2,000 from the Blaine County Democrats; and $1,000 from Boise Mayor David Bieter. She spent $57,037 and still had $42,762 left to draw from.

Among Ybarra’s large donors were the Idaho Federation of Republican Women ($3,000), Idaho Forest Group ($2,400) and the Canyon County Republicans ($2,000). She raised $17,969, spent $15,554 and had $11,181 remaining.

Attorney General

GOP incumbent Lawrence Wasden faces Bruce Bistline, a Democrat who is not actively fundraising or campaigning. Wasden raised $27,666 and spent $18,428, including $5,801 in wages to his wife, Tracey.


Incumbent Republican Brandon Woolf spent this year uncontested. He still raised $16,105, spent $9,733 — including on donations to other candidates — and has $20,678 left.


Julie Ellsworth, who won the GOP primary, does not have a general-election challenger. She raised $365, spent $4,124 and had $8,858 left — along with a $23,000 loan to herself.

Ballot initiatives

Proposition 1

A lot of money is going into supporting and opposing this measure to bring back historical horse racing betting terminals.

The group supporting Proposition 1, the Committee to Save Idaho Horse Racing, Create Jobs, and Fund Public Schools, has raised $2.1 million since the primary — all of it coming from Treasure Valley Racing, which operates Les Bois. The group spent $1.46 million and had $653,253 left.

Idaho United Against Prop 1 raised $2.75 million, nearly all of it coming from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which owns a casino in Worley. It spent $2.67 million and had $75,806 remaining.

Proposition 2

Idahoans for Healthcare, which supports this measure to expand Medicaid, raised $512,211, including $150,000 from the Idaho Hospital Association, $100,000 from AJ and Susie Balukoff, $30,000 from the Idaho Prosperity Fund, $48,769 from the Idaho Medical Association, $10,000 from the North Idaho District Medical Society and $10,000 from the Ada County Medical Association.

The most prominent PAC fighting Prop 2, the Work not Obamacare PAC, raised $29,298, spent $10,328 and had $18,970 remaining.

Still to come

This is not the final set of reports before the Nov. 6 general election. The next update is due Oct. 30, one week before Election Day.

Cynthia Sewell is Idaho Statesman’s political and investigative reporter. Contact her at (208) 377-6428, csewell@idahostatesman.com or @CynthiaSewell on Twitter.