- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter raised more than $407,500 in the past five months for his re-election, nearly four times as much as his GOP challenger Russ Fulcher hoping to oust him in the May 20 primary, according to the latest campaign disclosure reports.

Fulcher, a state senator and majority caucus chair for the Idaho Senate, raised $106,419 in the same time period. After spending $226,372 in campaign expenditures, Fulcher has $79,383 remaining in his war chest against the two-term governor. Otter has spent $510,261 and has $605,316 left over.

The finance reports show a snapshot of the candidates’ campaign trail as election day draws near. For most Idaho GOP candidates, fundraising during the May 20 primary election is critical because they often don’t face a serious challenger -Democractic or not - in the November general election. This means that the majority of Republican candidates view this time period as essential as they scramble to broadcast advertisements and send mailers to voters.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates running for state office to submit their finance disclosure reports covering Jan. 1 through May 4.

Perennial GOP gubernatorial candidates, Walter Bayes and Harley Brown, raised significantly less money than Fulcher and Otter. Bayes reported just under $2,000. Meanwhile, Brown’s form reported that he didn’t collect any donations. Instead, he added an unusual hand-written note on the margin of the form that read: “This campaign has kept me busier than Santa Clause (sic) on Christmas Eve, superimposed on my full life. I have no staff.”

The only Democratic gubernatorial candidate to collect contributions was A.J. Balukoff, who collected $282,687 since the beginning of the year. As of early May, Balukoff had $99,903 after campaign expenses.

For secretary of state, the four GOP candidates running for office have all managed to collect contributions from elected officials from across the state.

GOP candidate Phil McGrane received $47,644 in contributions, including donations from the state’s current secretary Ben Ysursa and Lt. Gov. Brad Little. The Ada County deputy clerk is down to just little more than $18,900 after accounting for campaign expenses.

Former Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney raised $150,103, the most out of all the secretary candidates. Key contributors include House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, state Rep. Janey Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls and a donation from Fulcher’s campaign. Denney’s report shows that he spent most of the money, with just $10,382 remaining as of May 4.

Candidate Mitch Toryanski of Boise raised $34,606 and spent $33,931.

Evan Frasure of Pocatello raised the least amount among the candidates, receiving $15,525 in contributions. His donors, however, were made up of a handful of eastern Idaho lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis and state Sens. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, and Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon. Frasure, a former lawmaker from Pocatello, has $3,699 left over after spending $17,052.

Whoever wins in the primary will face Democratic challenger Holli Woodings, who raised $69,825 thus far and spent $47,121.

In the race for superintendent of public instruction, most of the four GOP candidates -all with educator backgrounds but no political experience- have raised less than incumbent Tom Luna collected in his three terms campaigning for the post, who raised nearly $22,000 the first time he ran.

Sherri Ybarra, curriculum director for the Mountain Home school district, raised $2,850. Challenger Randy Jensen, an American Falls middle school principal, raised $7,124, most of which was collected before he announced in mid-April that potential donors should give to Idaho schools rather than to his campaign. Since the announcement, Jensen’s campaign received $1,550.

Andy Grover, superintendent of Melba School District, was the only one to fundraise more than Luna. Grover received $37,854 and spent $23,334, leaving him with $14,519.

Cottonwood teacher John Eynon raised $14,783 and spent more than $10,000 of it, leaving him with $4,737 on hand. Contributors include former state Rep. Phil Hart and GOP attorney general candidate Chris Troupis.

Troupis, meanwhile, was one of the few candidates to raise more money than the incumbents. Troupis raised nearly $70,000 from lawmakers such as state Sens. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, and Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood. He’s spent more than $65,700, leaving with him with $4,255 as of May 4.

His opponent, incumbent Lawrence Wasden, has $31,075 left over after collecting $67,154 over the past five months.

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