In the absence of independent polls, the campaign finance report is the closest thing to a black box that Idaho’s political addicts have.
Sunshine reports provide a tangible measure of turnout. They show which candidates are raising money – causing a stir in both well-funded PACs and real voters – and which candidates are spending money on advertising and mailing, automated calls and ubiquitous roadside signs.
The figures in dollars are real. But they are not a reliable way to predict winners and losers.
Information about the conduct of the prophets tells us a lot – and does not tell us – about the primary election, which could have a profound effect on Idaho and state education policies.
The entrance fee is rising. At least in some cases.
House Speaker Scott Bedke and State Secretary Priscilla Giddings have raised a staggering $ 1.4 million in the Republican Party’s lieutenant-governor’s primaries for a job that will be paid just over $ 200,000 over four years. The fundraising duel tells only part of the story. As noted by Jacqueline Kettler, a professor of political science at Boyce State University the recent Idaho Education News podcast.Bedke relies mainly on donors with large sums of money, while Giddings relies on raising funds from the public and individual donors.
But if there was any doubt, the fundraiser shows that the lieutenant-governor election has much less to do with real work, and much more to do with the personal and ideological split that runs through the Idaho regional group and the Republican Assembly.
To a lesser but still important degree, the price tag is also growing in some key legislative races. (More on that in a minute.)
Small has a big advantage. Dollar for dollar, Governor Brad Little’s fundraiser is not much different from what it was four years ago at the time. His re-election campaign raised $ 2 million in the north.
But in 2018, Little raised and spent just over $ 2 million in an extremely expensive open primary with U.S. Representative Raoul Labrador and developer and physician Tommy Alquist. This time Little’s $ 2 million filled the GOP field. Lt. Gov. Janice McGitchin, a distant second, raised just over $ 700,000.
Little’s military chest buys a lot of time for TV commercials for the governor and his chainsaw. You may have noticed this already.
The mainstream has an advantage in fundraising. Dividing the top of the ticket between the “main” Republican candidates and the “tough” Conservatives, the money follows the mainstream.
The only exception is the Attorney General’s race, where Labrador has a fundraising advantage over 20-year-old incumbent President Lawrence Wasden and Coeur d’Alen prosecutor Art Macomber.
The question is whether the money is well promised to the mainstreamers – whether a cohesive ticket to the hard line will overcome the gaps in fundraising.
It seems some candidates have the impetus. Over the past month, Hell County Clerk Phil McGrain has raised more than $ 126,000 in the race for secretary of state. During that time, State Representative Dorothy Moon and Senator Mary Souza raised just $ 30,000 together. This late surge in fundraising guarantees nothing – except that it gives McGrain a financial advantage in the final stages of what became a salty primary.
Other companies seem to be fading. Back to the gubernatorial primaries. Little continued to increase its big advantage, raising nearly $ 300,000 in the last month. McGichin received less than $ 70,000. Eagle Republican Ed Humphries surpasses McGitchin at home. Like Democratic nominee Shelby Rognstad, though Mayor Sandpoint has replenished his ledger, a $ 40,000 loan for his company.
Is fundraising a bad omen for her? It’s hard to promote as good.
Some legislators are in the spotlight. Chairman of the Republican Central Committee of Boner County Scott Herndon has raised more than $ 100,000 in his attempt to remove Senator Jim Woodward, R-Sagle. Seeking revenge for the initial loss in 2020 to Ron Nate MP, Rexburg Republican Britt Reibuld is approaching the $ 100,000 mark. Amon Republican Josh Wheeler is also approaching six-digit numbers when he challenges Chad Christensen’s representative, R-Ammon.
These problems with big money confirm what was already obvious. Proponents of the hard line really want to exterminate Woodward and other major Republicans in all-red legislatures. The moderates really want to load Nate and Christensen, among other conservatives. Solar reports bring it all to light.
Perhaps, if necessary, candidates for the legislature are chasing dollars. Even for legislators, 2022 is a completely new election. Between the rapid overall growth of the state and the new legislative map, incumbents cannot simply count on the name identifier obtained during the previous election.
Example: Senate Education Chairman Stephen Thein. For the past decade, Republican Emmett has represented a vast district that is part of the counties of Jam, Boise, Custer, Lemha and Valley. The reorganization singled out these four counties from Thane County. He is now running in the new 14th constituency – and although the constituency still includes his home constituency, Jem, it is only 36% of the electorate. The rest of the county occupies the adjacent county of Ada and puts Thein on the first course of the clash with Senator S. Scott Grow, R-Eagle.
Thane and other chapters such as Sens. Carl Crabtree of Grangeville and Jim Rice of Caldwell – run on an unfamiliar lawn. In redeveloped areas, the ability to raise money and spend it wisely can be crucial.
As always, the pursuit of money has a downside. Consider Senator Fred Martin.
Going to the Republican Party’s first showdown with Cody Galloway, one of several members of the House of Representatives who wants to go to the Senate, Martin has a huge number of election campaigns. Having raised more than $ 110,000, Martin easily plastered his West Boys Legislature with campaign signs. But now the county also has yellow roadside signs paid for by conservatives: the PAC, which supports Galloway. Signs against Martin point to support for the chairman of the health and well-being committee by Big Pharma (Martin’s supporters include Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, among others).
And after all, money is not a perfect predictor. If it were, it would be a place where we could write off the current head of state of Gray Ibar.
Ibara is lame in the money race this spring. Former President of the State Board of Education Debbie Critzfield – who runs the state’s most well-funded race superintendent in recent times – has surpassed Ibarra nearly tenfold. Branden Durst, a former Democrat lawmaker who became the hope of a brutal superintendent, nearly doubled Ybarra’s revenue to $ 34,000.
And the impulse? Ybarra has barely raised a paltry $ 5,000 over the past month, losing even more than Critchfield and Durst as the major approaches.
But we’ve been here before. Ibara won three of the four previous nationwide elections, with the exception of the 2018 Republican Party primaries. She won all four races, overcoming huge shortcomings in fundraising 2014 and 2018 autumn elections.
“Ibara, in general, is an unusual candidate,” Kettler said. “She tends to run a pretty quiet campaign, considering everything.”
Reports of sunlight can tell us a lot. But sometimes they are misleading. But as this election draws to a close, they are about as good a resource as we are.
Kevin Richert writes a weekly analysis of education policy and educational policy. Look for his stories every Thursday.
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