The latest fundraising numbers offer some perspective on this fall's statewide election.
The race with the most competitive fundraising is the 1st Congressional District. Several websites analyzing Congressional races, including CQ Politics and The Cook Political Report, are calling the race a tossup. Democrat Walt Minnick had more than $810,000 cash on hand and $250,000 in debt at the end of 2009. He raised more than $274,000 in the last three months of 2009.
Minnick's Republican challengers trail him. Vaughn Ward of Eagle has more than $207,000 on hand and $5,900 in debt at the end of last year. Ward raised more than $100,000 in the last three months of 2009. Raul Labrador, a state representative from Eagle raised $83,000, including $50,000 of his own money, after launching his campaign in December.
Beyond the two campaigning Republicans, several other former candidates still have open campaign accounts. Former seat holder Bill Sali, who's rumored to be running again, has $3,795 on hand, with more than $112,000 in debts, at the end of 2009. State Republican Party Chair Norm Semanko had $258 on hand and $37,500 in debt at the end of December, if he decides to run for that seat. Republican Sheila Sorenson of Boise had $87 on hand and more than $238,000 in debt at the end of December.
Incumbent 2nd District Republican Mike Simpson had $169,000 on hand and no debts at the end of the year. His Democratic opponent in 2008, Debbie Holmes of Boise, terminated her campaign Jan. 14, according to the FEC. Simpson faces a primary challenge from Chick Heileson of Iona, who had more than $4,000 at the end of December, after spending more than $32,000 in the last three months of 2009.
Gov. Butch Otter has more than $300,000 in his campaign war chest, according to a report filed with the Idaho secretary of state. He raised $305,000 and spent $423,000 in 2009. Otter has not formally announced a re-election run, but has said he will make that announcement at the proper time. Democratic challenger Keith Allred has more than $126,000 and $850 in debt. He announced his candidacy in December. The only other formal Democratic candidate, Lee Chaney of Preston, had $40.
Otter does face some Republican challengers in the May primary. Former elk rancher Rex Rammell of Idaho Falls had $663 at the end of 2009 after spending more than $27,000 last year. Walt Bayes of Wilder has $369. Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman had $231 on hand at the end of December.
Two independents are also on the ballot. Former Republican lawmaker Jana Kemp of Boise reported having $1,050 at the end of 2009, and $1,000 in debts to herself. The candidate known as Pro-Life, from Lethea, has no money on hand, after raising and spending more than $13,000 in 2009.
The Secretary of State's website doesn't list any challengers for Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, or Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. All candidates for state office file fundraising reports with the secretary of state. Congressional candidates file paperwork with the FEC. Idaho's primary election is scheduled for May 25.