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In Idaho's Less-Populated Areas, Campaign Finance Looks A Little Different

Frankie Barnhill/Boise State Public Radio
Jaclyn Kettler, a political science professor at Boise State University, said campaign fundraising often happens based on personal ties in local elections.

There are 11 candidates running for four seats on the Twin Falls City Council. Seven candidates did not report any campaign contributions by the first campaign finance reporting deadline this month. 



Jaclyn Kettler, a political science professor at Boise State University, said this isn’t surprising. 

“City elections may have very little attention," she said, "and as a result, there sometimes is very little campaigning that happens, or at least not the type of campaigning that requires a lot of money.” 

Low-cost campaining might mean attending local events or going door to door asking for support. That said, fundraising can be a sign of a candidate’s competitiveness. 

In the Twin Falls race, Liyah Babayan, a local business owner, has raised the most money with a little more than $900. Sixty-nine contributions of $50 or less made up over half of that total.

Other notable donations include about $700 to candidate Mona K. Weeks who is running to unseat current mayor Shawn Barigar — in Twin Falls, city council members select the mayor. The donor, Christy Hamilton, is CEO of Hamilton Manufacturing, and is suing the city for damages to the business' property due to faulty repairs and maintenance, according to the Times-News. Barigar reported no campaign contributions by this month's deadline.

Nevertheless, Kettler said local donations are often based on personal ties.

“People who are donating to candidates may be their neighbors, they work together, they’re in the same kind of professional network," she said.

That's compared to national and state elections that are more likely based on politics and ideology.



Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen  


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