Follow the Money
By Seth Ogilvie
If money truly drives elections, we wanted to give you an idea of who is attempting to “buy” Idaho’s First Congressional District.
Over $1.2 million has flown into the campaign coffers of the six major Republican candidates. Much of that money has come from out of state and the candidates themselves.
It can be hard to visualize how a campaign is being financed when you’re staring at endless spreadsheets, so we built up some maps to show where the money is coming from.
We’ll start at the top of the list with the runaway winner in the 2018 money war: Former state senator Russ Fulcher.
Fulcher raised over $435,000, and that number has most likely increased since his last filing. The largest donations come from the Club For Growth, the House Freedom Fund and a $35,000 loan Fulcher gave himself.
As you can see from the heat map, Fulcher had strong monetary support in Idaho, but he also received a significant amount of contributions from outside the state.
Fulcher is also in the lead with the amount of money he hasn’t yet spent. His current cash on hand totals over $82,000.
Former lieutenant governor David Leroy was next, with almost $332,000.
Almost a third of Leroy’s money came out of his own pocket — about $100,000. Leroy did not receive the large PAC donations that Fulcher did. The majority of his money came from individual citizens.
His most substantial contributor was actually his campaign treasurer, Richard Howard, who donated over $9,000. He was able to exceed the $2,700 limit because they were in-kind contributions — in other words, Howard donated his accounting services.
Leroy still has almost $55,000 on hand.
Rep. Luke Malek finished third in the fundraising race with nearly $250,000.
Malek donated less the 10% of the total money his campaign raised. The one-time $24,000 donation he made did, however, came late in the campaign, on April 20.
The majority of the rest of the money came from individual donations, with a few groups like the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Simplot Company PAC sprinkled in with large contributions.
Malek has spent almost all his money and currently has about $2,700 on hand.
Michael Snyder rounded out the over-$100K club.
Snyder put in less than 5% of the roughly $124,000 he raised. The big story of Snyder’s money is that it came from out of state. Of his top 10 itemized contributions, only one came from Idaho.
This is not surprising, as Snyder is a prominent conservative author and broadcast personality that may actually be better known outside of Idaho.
Snyder still has about $24,500 on hand.
Lt. Col. Alexander Gallegos surprised a few political gadflies by finishing fifth in fundraising with over $70,000.
Gallegos, like Snyder, mined his out-of-state contacts for contributions. Gallegos has strong military ties, and it shows in this map, with large amounts of money coming from military communities.
Gallegos donated less than 7% of the total money to his campaign in the form of loans. His most significant contributor was a self-employed commercial contractor living in California, who donated the maximum for both the primary and general totaling $5,400.
Gallegos still has about $28,500 on hand.
Coming in last in the money race among the major candidates was “the girl with all the guns,” Rep. Christy Perry.
In Perry’s latest filling, she only received 17 itemized contributions, including a $1,000 gift from her husband.
Perry raised less than $16,000. To put that in context, Perry managed to raise almost double that — over $30,000 — in her last state legislative primary in 2016. If you add up the money Perry and her husband put into this campaign, it makes up almost a third of the total.
Perry currently has about $3,700 on hand.
If it was just money that won elections, the race would already be over. But it’s not. Votes cast by people like you win elections. So whoever you’re supporting, get out there on Tuesday and vote for your favorite candidate, whether they raised a few thousand dollars or almost half a million. The choice is still in your hands — and that’s the great thing about democracy.