Election Central

Otter on ‘tepid’ fundraising: You can only go to the well so many times

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter doesn’t yet know who he will face in his 2014 re-election bid, but he’s confident enough to put other causes ahead of his own.

Otter pushed back against my recent observation that his campaign treasury lags behind the same point four years ago, saying he’s tapped his fundraising base for plenty of dough — just not so much for his own campaign.

“I have been raising money,” Otter told me yesterday after Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s announcement that he would join Otter in seeking re-election next year. “I raised almost $1 million for Students Come First, $1 million for the Governor’s Cup Scholarship, $400,000 for breast cancer.”

Campaign contributions come from the same pool, Otter said. “These are the same people that I’ve got to raise money from. It’s kind of difficult to go back to those same folks.”

After Otter filed his mid-year campaign finance report, I called the results “tepid” in an Aug. 1 blog post.  Otter raised about $84,000 in the first six months of 2013, about 22 percent less than 2009.  His spending (about $32,000) was down 64 percent over four years ago, though his cash on hand was up 10 percent to $129,000.

Democrat A.J. Balukoff is the only serious candidate to make any noise about challenging Otter, but has yet to make an announcement. If Balukoff shows some mettle or a legitimate primary challenger emerges, count on Otter to make another trip to the well.

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