Democrats outspent Republicans in runup to Idaho legislative elections

No surprise here. 

Democrats outspent Republicans in the runup to the Nov. 8 legislative elections — an election that saw the GOP add to its Statehouse supermajority.

In the period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 23, the Idaho Democratic Party and the Idaho Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee gave $21,800 to legislative candidates, and an additional $26,000 to an outside group that supported Democrats.

By contrast, the Idaho Republican Party and its legislative committees gave only $5,000 to a campaign — a controversial independent expenditure targeting House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston.

Lewiston Republican Mike Kingsley defeated Rusche last week, one of four legislative seats picked up by the GOP. Republicans also unseated Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, and won open seats that had been held by outgoing Reps. Dan Rudolph of Lewiston and Mark Nye of Pocatello. (Nye won a Senate seat last week, and will succeed retiring Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello.)

By picking up three House seats, Republicans now hold a 59-11 majority in that chamber. With the addition of another Senate seat, the GOP holds a 29-6 Senate majority.

The October campaign finance reports are, at best, a snapshot. Due one week before the election, the reports cover only a period from Oct. 1 through Oct. 23, and contain no information on fundraising or spending in the final 16 days of the campaign. Subsequent sunshine reports, due in December, will provide a window into the homestretch of the race.

But the October reports indicate that Democrats were putting money into a concerted campaign in the state’s battleground legislative districts. The strategy was twofold: to protect Democratic seats in competitive districts, and make perhaps make inroads in close legislative races.

By and large, the plan didn’t work.