High Profile Names, Businesses, PACs Fuel Idaho Primary War Chests 

A deep dive into the financial disclosures of the candidates who want to become Idaho's next governor

When the polls close at 8 p.m. for the Tuesday, May 15, Idaho Primary—set to be one of the most expensive gubernatorial primary contests in recent memory—a few of the losing campaigns might be tagged as some of the worst investments in history.

A review of campaign expenditures from the five major candidates for governor—Tommy Ahlquist, Rep. Raul Labrador and Lt. Governor Brad Little on the GOP ballot, and A.J. Balukoff and Paulette Jordan on the Democratic ballot—revealed significant dollar amounts and familiar names of individuals, businesses and political action committees fueling the campaign war chests.

It's not a surprise that Ahlquist has been his campaign's biggest contributor, pouring more than $800,000 of his own cash into his gubernatorial effort. Because Ahlquist is one of Idaho's highest-profile developers, it's also no surprise to see numerous construction, building and contracting firms on his donor list, including:

  • Advanced Heating & Cooling ($5,000)
  • American Construction Supply ($5,000)
  • Industrial Builders ($5,000)
  • Northwest Equipment Sales ($5,000)
  • Shilo Automatic Sprinklers ($5,000).
Individual Ahlquist donors include:
  • Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson ($5,000)
  • Harry Bettis, one of Idaho's wealthiest ranchers ($8,500)
  • Greg Burkhart, president of Rule Steel ($5,000)
  • Ryan Deluca, founder of BodyBuilding.com ($5,000)
  • Blake Hansen, managing partner of Alturas Capital ($5,000)
Other notable donations to the Ahlquist campaign include:
  • Community Care, an eastern Idaho primary and urgent care provider ($10,000)
  • Scentsy ($5,000)
  • Boise-based hazardous waste disposal firm U.S. Ecology ($5,000)
  • Zions Bank Political Action Committee ($2,500)

Labrador's campaign donors include a long list of out-of-state political action committees including:

  • Georgia-based Action PAC ($5,000)
  • Florida-based America Unlimited PAC ($1,000)
  • Kansas-based American Freedom PAC ($1,000)
  • Washington-based Associated Builders and Contractors PAC ($5,000)
  • North Carolina-based Battleground PAC ($1,000)
  • Utah-based Beehive PAC ($1,500)
  • Washington, D.C.-based Citizens United Political Victory Fund ($5,000)
  • Massachusetts-based Do Right Bayou PAC ($1,000)
  • Texas-based Jobs Freedom and Security PAC ($5,000)
Among the other big-ticket donors to the Labrador campaign were:
  • Boise-based 3 N Investments ($5,000)
  • Parent education instructors Gaylon and Maryann Ball of Boise ($10,000 each)
  • Eastern Idaho businessman Doyle Beck and his wife, Lynn ($10,000 each)
  • Eastern Idaho trucking company CE Hawkins and Son ($5,000)
  • Boise-based DeBest Plumbing ($10,000)
  • Employers Resource of Boise ($5,000)
  • Dr. Jeffrey Feingold, founder of MCNA Dental, the largest privately held dental care insurance company in the nation ($5,000)
  • Stefan Gleason, president of North Carolina-based Money Metal Exchange ($5,000)
  • James Kissler, CEO of Norco ($10,000)
  • Former Idaho Power CEO Lamont Keen and his wife, Vicki ($10,000 each)
  • Mark Peterson, owner of the largest auto group in Idaho, and his wife, Cathy ($5,000 each);  Milford Terrell, longtime member of the Idaho State Board of Education, and his wife, Grace ($10,000 each)

Among the political action committees that donated to Little's campaign were:

  • Idaho Prosperity Fund, the PAC affiliated with the influential Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry ($5,000)
  • FEAPAC ($3,000)
  • Idabankpac Fund ($5,000)
  • Idaho Wheat and Barley PAC ($2,700)
  • Outgoing Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's own OTTERPAC ($5,000)
Other big donors include:
  • Campo Oil of Fruitland ($5,000)
  • CenturyLink ($5,000)
  • CenturyLink Idaho PAC ($5,000)
  • Clear Springs Foods ($5,000)
  • Clear Springs CEO Larry Cope ($5,000)
  • Idaho Power ($5,000)
  • Intermountain Gas ($2,950)
  • Former Idaho governor Dirk Kempthorne ($2,700)
  • Boise City Councilman Scot Ludwig ($2,100)
  • Lynch Oil of Burley ($5,000)
  • Midas Gold ($5,000)
  • Micron Technology ($5,000)
  • Mountain View Hospital of Idaho Falls ($5,000)
  • Rocky Mountain Power ($5,000)
  • Bronco Motors CEO Grant Petersen ($5,000).

An interesting side note: Lobbyist Roy Eiguren, a regular fixture at the Idaho Capitol, donated to each of the Republican campaigns, pledging $1,500 for Ahlquist, $1,000 for Labrador and $1,000 for Little.

On the Democratic side, the two main competitors in the gubernatorial primary have nowhere near the number of donations as their Republican opponents, but candidate A.J. Balukoff is head and shoulders ahead of other donors to his campaign, having put $175,000 of his own money into his war chest. To date, one of the largest donations to Paulette Jordan's campaign was $1,000 from Planned Parenthood Votes.

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