PACs spent nearly $ 2.4 million to oppose voting initiative, various Idaho candidates

While most state and legislative races haven’t changed much in fundraising since early September, advertising and material funded by political action committees and others are flooding Idahoans’ mailboxes and social media channels.

According to the Idaho Secretary of State’s Sunshine database, 169 political committees across Idaho have raised $ 3.6 million since the May 17 primaries and spent over $ 2.37 million in the past months.

Much of that dollar has been allocated to the same races across the state, which both parties seem to be up for grabs, and the expenses have been largely paid in the past two months as the November 8 general election looms.

The Idaho business PAC opposes the question of legislation

Most of the political action committees focused on the candidates, but one has allocated almost $ 70,000 to advertising against the transition Joint Senate resolution 102, a voting question about whether the constitution should be changed to allow Idaho’s legislature to re-convene a session with approval by 60% of the legislature. Under current Idaho law, only the governor has the power to call the legislature back to a session to deal with a specific issue.

PAC is the Idaho Prosperity Fund, which is affiliated with the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the largest business organization in the state. PAC donors include Idaho Power, JR Simplot Company, and the Idaho Medical Association.

The Idaho Liberty PAC, which is largely funded by Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca and various companies across Idaho, said it spent $ 48,000 to counter the SJR 102 as well.

PAC supporting Democrats target Idaho candidates over abortion

Mailer against Laurie Lickley's representative
The package posted to the voter in Ketchum is addressed to Laurie Lickley’s representative, R-Jerome, who is running for Senate seat in the district. Lickley was a co-sponsor of the Idaho Majority Abortion Law. (photo courtesy)

Two PACs supporting Democrats across Idaho include Accountable Idaho and Idaho Liberty Defense, both of whom mention as treasurer the wife of former Idaho Democratic Representative Walt Minnick, AK.

Accountable Idaho spent $ 76,191 in advertising and other material in October to support Democratic candidates in eastern Idaho and northern Idaho, including MP James Ruchti D-Pocatello and Senator David Nelson of Moscow. Ruchti is running for Senate seat and Nelson is running for re-election in the Senate. The PAC also spent money fighting the Republicans in these races – David Worley and former Moscow Senator Dan Foreman respectively.

Idaho Liberty Defense is an abortion rights PAC that has raised $ 91,328 since May and spent nearly $ 62,000 of that amount to counter Worley and five lawmakers:

  • Laurie Lickley’s representative, R-Jerome
  • Rep. Codi Galloway, R-Boise
  • Representative Brandon Mitchell, R-Moscow
  • Representative of Dustin Manwaring, R-Pocatello
  • Representative for Lori McCann, R-Lewiston

Idaho Parenthood Voting Scheduled The PAC donated $ 22,000 to the Idaho Liberty Defense between September 16 and October 24.

Idaho Liberty Defense ads targeting voters directly on a website called herlifeidaho.comwhich includes a video in which women talk about the prohibition of abortion in Idaho and highlight politicians who are opposed by the group.

Outside groups send e-mails to Idaho lawmakers about critical racial theory, drug performance

Two outside PACs continue to allocate money to Idaho elections. A group called Make Liberty Win, which is a Virginia-related libertarian organization Young Americans for Freedom, spent over $ 41,000 in September and October to support the Republican candidates and oppose the Democrats. Group list approved candidates in Idaho appear on their website.

Mailers against democratic lawmakers
These emails opposing the Boise Democratic Reps. Colin Nash and Steve Birch aim at critical race theory and drag performance. (Photos courtesy of)

Some of the e-mails sent by Make Liberty Win were aimed at representatives of Colin Nash and Steve Berch, both D-Boise, and focused on drag queens and critical racial theory. So far, there’s no evidence that critical race theory is being taught in Idaho’s public K-12 schools, and Idaho’s Democratic legislators haven’t said they want a drag queen in every class.

National organization called American Federation for Childrenwho is in favor of choosing a school and has linkage with The American Legislative Exchange Council and the billionaire family of former US education secretary Betsy DeVos donated $ 125,000 to PAC Idaho between September and October. The Idaho PAC spent $ 74,000 of this amount to support Manwaring, Galloway, Mitchell, and Dorie Healey and counter democratic rivals.

The same organization spent $ 200,000 in Idaho’s Republican primary to support eight candidates.

More donations may be known nationally in the coming months

The October independent general election reporting deadline expired on Tuesday, but other donations and expenses are due to be reported by November 10, two days after election day. Some donations made by national PACs or congress races may not be known until 2023 as the Federal Election Commission has quarterly deadlines.

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