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Campaign finances show divide in North Idaho GOP

April 26, 2022

The Idaho Republican primary races of 2022 are shaping up to be one of the most divisive in history as the self-proclaimed "conservative" wing of the party has launched a full-out assault, not on other political parties, but on those of their own party upon whom they pin former president Donald Trump's disparaging acronym for party members who don't buy the lies or march in rigid lockstep, the RINO, Republican in Name Only.

Among local candidates on the Boundary County GOP primary ballots in challenged races, the right-leaning candidates are bringing in and spending considerably more on their campaigns than their more moderate counterparts in all but two races except for the race for GOP Boundary County Coroner, a race with neither candidate reporting either contributions or expenditures. Theirs is possibly the most civil of the county May 17 Republican races.

In the Boundary County race for county commissioner, District 2, according to the Idaho Secretary of State public campaign finance website, Steve Fioravanti has received $6,662 from 11 donors and he's spent $2,974, including $1,748 for printing, while incumbent Tim Bertling has received $50 from one unnamed donor and has listed no reportable expenditures.

Fioravanti's top donors include Christian Fioravante, $979, Gabriel Fioravanti, $950, William Green, $500, Palau Properties LLC, $500, and Jeanine Betsher, $400. Other donors include Donna Capurso of Redoubt News and Warren Campbell, pastor of the Lordship Church.

In the commissioner District 3 race, incumbent Dan Dinning filed a treasurer appointment report in early February but has reported no donations or campaign expenditures, while challenger Ben Robertson has reported donations from six totaling $2,470 and expenditures of $1,056.

His top donors are Kyle Watts, $1,000, FALCKCO LLC, $1,000, and Hometown Idaho PAC, $350.

In the race for the Idaho District 1 Senate seat, incumbent Jim Woodward has reported 114 donors giving $65,314 in contributions and $8,452 in expenses to challenger Scott Herndon's 324 donors, $91,409 in donations and $35,953 in expenditures.

Donors to Woodward's campaign include Agra-PAC, Idaho Forest Group, Idaho Wheat and Barley PAC, UHFG Insurance PAC, Melaleuca Inc., Potlatch Deltic, Avista, Clearwater Paper, Idaho Consumer-Owned Utilities PAC, Idaho Power, J.R. Simplot Company, BNSF Railway, Quantum Concepts, Senate Republican PAC of Idaho, Idaho Hospital Association PAC, Avista Corp, Idaho Association of Realtors, Idaho Forest Group, Hecla Mining and Stimson Lumber Company.

Donors to Herdon's campaign include RhinoPAC, Hometown Idaho PAC, B&L Company Tree Top Ranches, Palou Properties LLC, Christian Fioravanti, AirSeal Insulation LLC, Army Surplus, Big Daddy's Sweets, Ego Fishing Inc., Warren Campbell and the Abolish Abortion PAC.

The race for Idaho House District 1A, being vacated by Heather Scott due to redistricting, goes against the trend, as Mark Sauter, considered by many to be the most traditional of North Idaho Republican in the six-way race, leads in donations over Spencer Hutchings, endorsed by Hometown Idaho PAC in a race with no endorsement by the Bonner County Republican Central Committee. In fact, Hutchings ranks fourth in the race in campaign contributions and third in expenditures.

In its other endorsements, Hometown Idaho Pac mirrored the endorsements of the Bonner County Republican Central Committee.

Sauter has reported $13,410 in donations from 14 donors and no expenses. His major donors are Dennis Pense, Karen Pence, Idaho Power Company, Ronald Marron, Waterfront Property Management and DL Dawson.

Adam Rorick reports $8,668 in donations from nine donors, though only five are listed with donations totaling $1,850, and he lists loans to himself of $6,910. He lists $4,922 in campaign expenditures.

Travis Thompson reports donations of $7,982 from 13 donors including Agra-PAC, General Contracting Company and Will's Plumbing. He lists $3,847 in expenditures.

Hutchings reports $5,600 in donations from 15 donors and expenses of $3,378. Donors include Donna Capurso, RhinoPAC, Hometown Idaho PAC and his own Sagle business, Sheepdog Supplies.

Cynthia Weiss reports $2,000 in contributions from three donors, one of them being herself with a $500 donation. She lists $436 in expenditures.

Steve Johnson reports one donor, himself, giving his campaign $700, of which $696 were expenditures.

In the race for House Seat District 1B, incumbent Sage Dixon reports donations of $65,813 from 132 donors to far outpace challenger Todd Engel, endorsed by the Bonner County Republican Central Committee and Hometown Idaho Pac, who reports $14,612 in donations from 63 donors.

Dixon, who reports expenditures of $66,563, including a $250 contribution to Idahope Families, Sandpoint, $160 to the Boundary County Republican Central Committee, $600 to the Foundation for Wildlife Management, $400 to Bonner County Republican Women Inc. and $55 to the Boundary County 4-H Leaders Association, received contributions from Agri-Pac, Idaho Forest Group, Avista, the Idaho State Independent Auto Dealers Association, Anheuser Busch, Idaho Loggers PAC, Allstate Insurance Company, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Idaho Power, Idaho Realtors, the Idaho Bankers Association, Blue Cross of Idaho, Idaho Cable Broadband Association PAC, Idaho Potato Industry PAC, Idaho Truck PAC, Idaho Wheat and Barley PAC and North Idaho Builders PAC.

Engel reports expenditures of $9,203, all on campaign expenses. His donors include Hometown Idaho PAC, Rhino PAC, Nosworthy's Hall of Fame, Santilli and Associates, Lynda Fioravanti and Pastor Warren Campbell.

Disclaimer: 9B Media has received political advertising fees for the May 17 primary, to date, of $250 from Sherri Ybarra, $250 from Jim Woodward, $250 from North Idaho Voter Services and $100 from Local Idaho Citizens for the Eradication of Invasive Toxic Weeds. I am grateful for the support. ~ Mike Weland, Publisher

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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