© 2022 Boise State Public Radio
WebHeader_3.png
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Idaho's 2013 Legislature convened in Boise on January 7. We've put together a guide to the session, including ways to contact your lawmaker, how to get involved, and comprehensive information about the people elected to office.

National GOP Group Drops $500K Into Idaho Governor's Race

TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.
Jessica Robinson
/
Northwest News Network
TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.

New campaign finance reports show a national Republican group has spent more than $500,000 trying to re-elect Gov. Butch Otter in Idaho.

TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.

Much of that money has gone to television ads. The spending suggests the Republican governor faces a tougher-than-expected challenge this year from his wealthy Democratic opponent.

Democrat A.J. Balukoff has been running as a centrist businessman focused on education who backed Mitt Romney for president. It's an image the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association seeks to shatter in its just-unveiled political ad.

“He's the liberal Democrat running for governor … you know, the guy who agrees with Obama on virtually everything,” a voice says in the ad.

Campaign finance reports show the Republican Governors Association Idaho PAC and a connected political action committee called the American Comeback Committee Idaho PAC have spent at least $576,600 so far on the gubernatorial race in Idaho.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter makes a campaign stop at Buck Knives in Post Falls.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
Idaho Governor Butch Otter makes a campaign stop at Buck Knives in Post Falls.

Political analyst Jim Weatherby noted the Otter campaign also just released an ad. And for the first time, it attacks Balukoff directly.

“And this kind of direct response would indicate the Otter campaign may feel this is a more competitive race than one or two polls have indicated,” Weatherby explained.

Weatherby said divisions in the Idaho Republican Party and a Libertarian challenger make it unclear whether the governor can depend on far-right voters on election day.

The multi-millionaire Democrat Balukoff, meanwhile, has put at least $2.1 million of his own money toward his campaign. That's more than Otter's entire contribution flow, according to the latest filings.

Copyright 2021 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.