Gov. Butch Otter, Democratic challenger Keith Allred, and other candidates for Idaho state and federal office are continuing fundraising efforts as the May 25 primary election nears and are reporting large contributions.
Otter, running in the Republican primary, received $2,500 from the tobacco company Altria and $2,000 from Skip Smyser, a lobbyist whose clients include Altria and other companies. Smyser’s connection to Altria made news earlier this year when his wife, Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma, switched her vote on a proposal to ban dissolvable tobacco in Idaho. Her vote ended up killing the plan, and she wouldn’t fully explain why she switched her vote, though she said it had nothing to do with her husband’s lobbying efforts. Altria doesn’t currently have dissolvable tobacco products on the market.
Otter’s potential opponent in the November election, Democrat Keith Allred, also received $5,000 from A.J. Balukoff, president of the Boise Schools Board, and $1,000 from Wright Law Offices in Idaho Falls. Both Allred and Otter face opponents in the primary election. All candidates for state office must submit updated fundraising information, including contributions and expenditures, to the Idaho secretary of state by May 18. At the end of December, the end of the last reporting period, Otter had more than $300,000 in his campaign fund while Allred had more than $126,000.
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