Tracking who is donating to candidates in the governor's race

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Signs, bumper stickers, and staff. those are just a few of the things needed to run a campaign and they begin to add up financially.

That's why many candidates in the race for Idaho Governor have been fundraising for months.

In the case of incumbent Governor Butch Otter his campaign has raised more than the next two major candidates combined.

During 2013 Gov. Otter raised $685,845.72 in contributions. With the biggest donations coming from casino billionaire Stephen Wynn. He kicked in $10,000 with another $20,000 also coming from his wife and resort.

Other major donors also came form the agriculture and forest industry like Simplot, and Plummer Forest Products who gave $10,000 each.

In the Gov. Otter's case many gave the maximum of $5,000 to both his primary and general reelection campaigns. Something that BSU political science professor John Freemuth said is very common.

"Donors give to incumbents much more that is one of the built in advantages of incumbency," said Freemuth.

Otter's main rival for the GOP primary, Russ Fulcher, raised $251,642.50.
His biggest donors were Mark Bottles Real Estate with $5,000. Along with Canyon County trucking companies FSF Inc., and WTL Inc who both gave the max of $5,000.

The main Democratic candidate AJ Balukoff raised $110,860.85 in his election bid. The majority of his contributions came from individual donors ranging from $60 to $5,000. Two of his main donors were The Math Advantage which gave $500, and Eberle for Council which gave $250.

While they may come from different side of the isle Fulcher and Balukoff have one thing in common. They both loaned their campaign thousands of dollars which makes up a large portions of their totals.

Balukoff with $70,000 and Fulcher with $100,000.

Freemuth said this is very common when a candidate runs for major office against an incumbent. He notes it also shows one of the major flaws of today's politics.

"This is one of the things that I think disturbs the average American about our elections," Freemuth said. "That is to run you either have to be wealthy or you have to be able to fundraiser an incredible amount of money."