Election Central

Idaho’s Rep. Simpson loses finance chief as he faces multi-million-dollar race

Kendra Waitley, finance director for Idaho 2nd District GOP Congressman Mike Simpson’s re-election bid, has left the campaign.

“Kendra is no longer with the campaign as of the beginning of November,” Campaign Manager Brody Aston said Wednesday. “She has several other clients and we mutually agreed that the time demands of the campaign were too great given her base of other clients. She did a very good job for the campaign and we are appreciative of all that she did to assist us. At this time, we have not hired anyone to replace her but may do so in the future.”

Simpson raised a personal record $437,000 in the third quarter of 2013, while challenger Bryan Smith raised an impressive figure for a challenger, $275,000. Simpson has estimated the race will cost his campaign $2 million. Simpson spent $1.2 million in winning his eighth two-year term in 2012.

The May 2014 Smith-Simpson Republican primary is considered one of the top races in the nation pitting tea party challengers against mainstream incumbents. It has already drawn heavy interest from independent groups supporting Smith and other right-wing candidates and business-friendly groups backing Simpson.

Waitley owns K1 Event Planning and Fundraising and is manager of the City Club of Boise. She also has worked as a campaign aide to Gov. Butch Otter and on the official staff of former Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics