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Millions in campaign contributions are pouring into Idaho political races ahead of the May primary

In 7 weeks, Idahoans will hit the polls for the highly anticipated primary election. Millions of dollars are already shaping up races.

BOISE, Idaho — Money and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly, the two are just inseparable. While the correlation between fundraising and winning an election can vary, campaign finance reports give valuable insight into candidates and political races.

The highly anticipated May 2022 primary will set up the landscape of Idaho politics for years to come. The top race: Idaho’s next Governor. Top fundraisers in the race for Idaho Governor include familiar names. Current Governor Brad Little, current Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, and up and comer Ed Humphreys. According to the Idaho Secretary of State’s sunshine reports, Little leads the pack with $1.63 million dollars raised. McGeachin comes in at about $585,000 and Humphreys $314,000.

The more money a candidate has, the more opportunity there is to expand campaigning, but it’s not just about the money. Campaign finance reports give a window into what support for a candidate may look like. 

In the Governor’s race on the Republican side, Little leads the way with donations from 2,151 donors. McGeachin has 1,217 and Humphreys has 494 so far. Important to note, donors are not necessarily Idahoans who are set to vote in May, people from outside the state can and do donate for a variety of reasons.

Campaign donations are closely watched and must follow a set of rules. For example, individuals can only donate $5,000 per election to a candidate running for statewide offices, like Governor. Of note, races are split between the primary and general election meaning an individual could donate the maximum for each race.

Here is where some other major races sit 7-weeks from the primary day: In the race for Lt. Governor, House Speaker Republican, Scott Bedke, holds a narrow fundraising margin over State Representative, Priscilla Giddings. Of note in this race, Giddings has 681 more individual donors, according to the Secretary of State’s office, despite raising less.

In the race for Secretary of State, Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane leads the GOP pack in donors and funds raised against State lawmakers Dorothy Moon and Mary Souza.

The race for Attorney General currently has former Congressman, Raul Labrador, at the top of the chart for funds raised, close to $400,000. Current AG, Lawrence Wasden, does have more donors than Labrador and challenger Art Macomber.

With education in the spotlight, so is the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Challenger, Debbie Critchfield, leads the race in terms of funds raised and donors. Of note, SOS records show that current Superintendent Sherri Ybarra has not filed an updated report since March 9th, so it is possible her numbers are higher, but she trails Critchfield and challenger Branden Durst in both categories.

There are dozens and dozens of races across Idaho for things like state lawmaker, county sheriff, and even coroner. Overall across all races, Secretary of State data shows that 41,866 Donors have given $28,546,805 to 932 Candidates and 213 PACs, close to $18 million of that is donations to all candidates.

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