Walt Minnick, the Democrat representing Idaho's 1st Congressional District in Congress, continues to extend his large lead in the campaign finance race.
During the period of April 1 until May 5, Minnick reported bringing in $117,000, adding to the large sum of money the first-term congressman already has in his campaign war chest. Minnick has more than $935,000 in campaign accounts, an amount larger than the combined cash of the two men vying to take him on in November's general election.
In the past week, Minnick has also reported contributions of more than $1,000 totaling $22,900, while Minnick's would-be challengers, Vaughn Ward and state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, have not reported any large gifts. Most of Minnick’s reported large contributions, $16,400, have come from outside Idaho, including gifts from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and the political action committee for the Fertilizer Institute.
Labrador and Ward are in the home stretch before the May 25 Republican primary election. During the April-May reporting period, Ward continued to outmatch Labrador in campaign cash. Ward reported receiving more than $55,000 in donations. Labrador brought in $14,800 during the same period. Ward also leads Labrador in the size of his campaign war chest, which boasts $125,000 to Labrador's $35,900, numbers which include the latest contributions.
John Foster, spokesman for the Minnick campaign, lauded the fundraising advantage. ""We're pleased by the overwhelming support Walt has received and continues to receive from Idahoans across the political spectrum," Foster said. Minnick will not face an opponent in the May 25 primary election. Labrador and Ward, joined by Harley Brown, a perennial candidate, will square off in the Republican primary. Brown has not reported any campaign contributions to this point. Ryan O'Barto, Ward's campaign spokesman, said that his candidate's fundraising shows support for the message his campaign is pushing. "Our fundraising reflects that Idahoans are standing behind’s Vaughn’s message of cutting spending, putting Idahoans back to work, and bringing more transparency to Congress," said O'Barto.
Labrador spokesman Dennis Mansfield said that while Ward stands as a giant in the money race, Labrador is relishing his role as the underdog.
In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Mike Simpson has $205,538 in cash on hand as of May 5, and received $14,000 in large contributions since May 7. All but $1,000 of those large contributions have come from outside Idaho. Challenger Chick Heileson reported having $244 in cash on hand, while no other candidates filed campaign finance forms with the FEC.
(Note: IdahoReporter.com writer Brad Iverson-Long contributed to this post.)