The race for the District 30A House seat ended up being the most expensive in the region, with a combined $62,700 spent between the candidates overall and almost $17,000 just in the final weeks before the election.
Democrat Pat Tucker raised $32,435.51 and spent $32,333.59 in her ultimately unsuccessful bid to represent the district, which includes Ammon and other areas of western Bonneville County outside of Idaho Falls. Republican and eventual victor Gary Marshall raised $34,900 and spent $30,370.21, according to the post-election campaign finance reports filed this week.
Notable contributions in the last couple of weeks include $1,000 each Marshall got from Frank VanderSloot, Belinda VanderSloot, and VanderSloot’s company Melaleuca. Tucker raised $1,950.57 in the final weeks before the election, including $665 from George Morrison, District 33B Democratic House candidate, and $200 from Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum.
All three of the Democrats running in District 33, which encompasses most of the city of Idaho Falls, raised a little more than $10,000 in their bids for office. Notable contributions in the run-up to the election include $500 from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan to Senate candidate Jerry Sehlke. The Republicans in District 33, who won the election, each raised more than double what their opponents did.
In the race for the 32B House seat, former Rep. Tom Loertscher, who lost the May Republican primary to Chad Christensen and then launched an unsuccessful write-in bid to keep his seat, raised $16,350 in the last couple of weeks before the election.
A combined $4,050 came from either current Republican lawmakers or ones who didn’t run for re-election this year — Sens. Brent Hill, Bert Brackett and Jeff Siddoway and Reps. Gary Collins, Tom Dayley, Maxine Bell, Stephen Hartgen and Dell Raybould. He also got $500 from the campaign account of former Sen. John Tippets, who now heads the Department of Environmental Quality, and $250 from Ken Krell, an Idaho Falls doctor and Medicaid expansion advocate.
Christensen, who won with 81 percent of the vote last month, raised $3,760 in those last weeks. His donors included Reps. John Vander Woude and Jason Monks, former Rep. Ron Nate and the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. Ralph Mossman, a Democrat and Driggs city councilman who also ran for the seat as a write-in candidate, didn’t raise any money.
While Senate President Pro Tempore Hill, R-Rexburg, has the largest campaign account out of the local lawmakers who faced electoral challenges this year — he raised more than $103,000 in 2018 and still had $42,770.55 at the close of the last filing period — much of his spending has been on contributions to other Republican candidates and organizations rather than on his own campaign. His biggest donors in the weeks before the election, at $1,000 each, were Charter Communications, the Idaho Association of Realtors, the Idaho Bankers Association, Blue Cross of Idaho, Idaho Optometric Physicians, and FEAPAC, or Farmers Employees and Agents Political Action Committee.
Robert Nielsen, Hill’s Democratic opponent, raised $5,869.20 all year and $1,110.67 in the weeks before the election. He spent most of it on campaign-related advertising and expenses and had $164.10 at the end of the filing period.
Terry Gestrin, the Republican incumbent in District 8, which includes Custer and Lemhi counties, raised $17,775 all year and $3,550 in the weeks before the election. Most of his contributions in the last couple of weeks were from various PACs, including $1,000 from the Idaho Association of Realtors and $750 from the IDABank Pac, which represents the Idaho Bankers Association. Jon Glick, Gestrin’s Democratic opponent, raised almost $22,000 all year. He raised $491 in the weeks before the election in small donations.
District 8 Sen. Steve Thayn faced challenges from Constitution Party candidate Kirsten Faith Richardson and independent William Sifford. Richardson didn’t raise or spend any money on her bid, while Sifford raised $1,970.54 all year and spent most of it.
The race for the 35B House seat was the cheapest out of the contested races in the region. Democrat Jerry Browne raised $81 all year, according to his report. Republican Rod Furniss, who won, got $20,250 in contributions all year and spent $14,584.30, leaving $5,665.70 at the end of the last filing period.