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What Magic Valley legislative candidates are raising and spending on elections

What Magic Valley legislative candidates are raising and spending on elections

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TWIN FALLS — Democratic candidates in Magic Valley legislative races out-raised and out-spent their Republican opponents across the board between May and September, campaign finance reports released in early October show.

Here’s what south-central Idaho legislative candidates have raised and spent since the primaries.

House Seat 24 B

Democrat Deborah Silver raised and spent nearly twice as much between May 26 and Sept. 30 as her Republican opponent, Linda Wright Hartgen, records show.

Silver received $15,235 in total contributions from donors, including the Political Action Committee for Education and Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate A.J. Balukoff. She also took in 22 donations of more than $50 from individuals living in Twin Falls and $960 worth of donations of $50 or less.

Wright Hartgen received $8,216 in donations over $50 and in-kind contributions over the same period, with the majority of listed itemized contributions coming from PACs and Republican organizations. Donations included $1,000 from the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s AGRA-PAC and $250 from the Idaho Logger PAC.

Silver spent $13,528 over that period, $6,184 of which went to the Marketing Resource Group in Twin Falls. Wright Hartgen spent $6,718, with $5,185 going to KMVT.

District 24 Senate

Incumbent Sen. Lee Heider, a Republican from Twin Falls who chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, vastly out-raised and out-spent independent write-in challenger Peter Rickards, records show.

Heider, who entered the period with $51,094, received another $4,100 in contributions since May from entities including Connecticut-based pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and tobacco company Altria.

His campaign spent $7,413 over the same period, more than $2,500 of which went toward hotel stays in Utah, Coeur d’Alene and Alaska. Explanations for these expenses weren’t listed on the report, but Heider told the Times-News the trips to Utah and Alaska were to meet with state government officials and to research a dental health aid technician program that could be implemented in Idaho. The Coeur d’Alene expenses were used to attend the Governor’s Cup charity golf tournament, he said.

Heider said he chose to spend campaign funds on these events rather than using state money.

“I don’t particularly like to sponge off the state if people have given me money for my campaign and want me to spend it on learning good things,” Heider said, adding: “It’s very beneficial to creating good legislation to visit with people from other states who may have had similar experiences.”

The only contribution to Rickards’s campaign was $460 from himself, reports show. He spent the bulk of that amount to campaign at the Twin Falls County Fair.

House Seat 26 A

Muffy Davis of Ketchum, the Democratic candidate for House Seat 26 A, received $39,417 in contributions, leading Magic Valley legislative candidates in donations. $5,607 of those contributions came from donations of $50 or less, and $696 came from in-kind contributions.

Her Republican opponent, incumbent Rep. Steve Miller of Fairfield, took in $18,058 over the same period, including $125 in donations of $50 or less and $833 in in-kind contributions.

The majority of Davis’ listed contributions came from people in Ketchum, Hailey and Sun Valley, including a $1,000 donation from Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, though she also received contributions from several PACs including the Idaho State AFL-CIO PAC.

Roughly two-thirds of Miller’s itemized donations came from PACs, regional Republican committees, corporations and fellow GOP politicians and candidates, including a $1,000 donation from Speaker of the House Rep. Scott Bedke of Oakley, a $500 donation from House Majority Leader Mike Moyle and $2,000 from the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s AGRA-PAC.

Davis spent nearly double the amount Miller did, with expenditures coming in at $16,268 and $8,721, respectively. More than $9,000 of Davis’ payments went to Wood River Consulting in Bellevue.

House Seat 26 B

House Seat 26 B incumbent Rep. Sally Toone, a Democrat from Gooding, received $24,042 in donations between May and September, reports show, including $2,475 in donations of $50 or less and $4,075 in in-kind contributions.

Donations of more than $50 included $1,000 each from House Minority Leader Rep. Matt Erpelding and Stennett and a $250 donation from the Idaho Education Association.

She spent $14,252 over the same period, about half of which went to Wood River Consulting for campaign manager payments.

Her opponent, Mike McFadyen, received $7,877 in contributions, including $21 in donations of $50 or less and $2,555 in in-kind contributions.

McFadyen’s donations included $750 from the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s AGRA-PAC. He spent $4,534.

District 26 Senate

In the race for the District 26 Senate seat, Democratic incumbent Sen. Michelle Stennett took in $17,045 in total contributions, including $2,231 worth of donations of $50 or less. Her listed donations contain a mix of Blaine County people and PACs and other groups and corporations, including $1,000 from Idaho Forest and $500 from Simplot.

Her challenger, Republican Julie Lynn, received $6,489 in total contributions, including $939 in in-kind donations. Her listed donations include people from Blaine County and the GOP committees in Twin Falls County and Blaine County.

Stennett spent about $2,000 more than Lynn over the May-September period, spending $8,415 to Lynn’s $6,125. About $2,700 of Stennett’s expenditures went to fellow Democratic candidates Cindy Wilson, Kristin Collum, Davis, and Toone, and $1,113 went to Wood River Consulting.


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