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IDAHO’S ’94 CAMPAIGNS COST A RECORD $5 MILLION

SHARE IDAHO’S ’94 CAMPAIGNS COST A RECORD $5 MILLION

Spurred by a governor's race that was very close until Republican Phil Batt pulled away in the final days, statewide election campaigns in Idaho cost a record $5.05 million.

The secretary of state's office has released its report on spending during the 1993-94 election cycle.Batt, who was locked in a tight battle with Democratic Attorney General Larry EchoHawk, spent $1.387 million on the race, about $52,000 more than his challenger. Although EchoHawk was leading most of the way, Batt rallied to win by 34,760 votes.

Three men who lost to Batt in the GOP primary, Boise businessmen Larry Eastland, Chuck Winder and Doug Dorn, between them spent $485,000.

Total spending in the governor's race was $3.35 million.

The previous record for all statewide races combined was $2.56 million spent in 1986.

The secretary of state's report showed that overall, Republican statewide candidates spent $2.37 million and Democrats about $50,000 less. Other candidates spent $161,896, and $160,704 was spent on the nonpartisan race for an Idaho Supreme Court position.

Although overall spending was nearly equal, the Republicans showed a big advantage in key areas that led to an overwhelming GOP landslide. State Controller J.D. Williams was the only Democrat to win statewide office, and there are just 21 Democrats among the 105 members of the Idaho Legislature.

Republican legislative candidates spent $1.08 million to $643,000 for Democrat contenders.

The Idaho Republican Party also spent $906,687 on the race, compared with just $335,812 for the Democrats.

The GOP spent heavily on organizing, registration and get-out-the-vote efforts that the Demo-crats couldn't match.

Money didn't always determine the winners.

Democrat John Peavey spent $283,487 running for lieutenant governor but lost to Republican Butch Otter, who spent just $114,306. Two losers in the GOP primary, Dean Haagenson and Dean Sorensen, spent just under $98,000 each.

Challenger Edith Stanger spent $32,219 but lost to GOP Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, who spent just $10,388.

Democrat Mike Burkett spent $306,204 but lost the attorney general election to Republican Al Lance, who spent $165,593.

State schools superintendent Anne Fox spent $103,965 to $101,941 for Democrat nominee Will E. Sullivan.

Williams spent $76,326 to win another four-year term. The GOP nominee, Ralph Gines, spent $31,021 but Ron Pollock, who lost to Gines in the primary election, put $47,127 into the race.

For a change, the most expensive legislative race wasn't in Ada County in the last election. In District 21, central Idaho, Republican challenger Jon Mellen spent $110,302 but lost to Democratic Sen. Clint Stennett of Ketchum, who spent about $41,000.

Other candidates in that district pushed total spending to nearly $200,000.

Ada County's most expensive races were in District 12. Republican Sen. Sheila Sorensen spent $65,804 heading off a challenge from Democrat Marilyn Sword, who put $63,098 into the race.

Other candidates in that district pushed total spending to $160,409.

The battle over Idaho's anti-gay initiative sent spending by special interest groups to $2.539 million, second in an election cycle only to the $4.6 million spent in 1986 when right-to-work was on the ballot.

Proposition 1 lost by 3,073 votes out of about 408,000 ballots cast.

No On One, a group opposing the proposition, spent $562,740 to $192,778 for Stop Special Rights, which backed the initiative.

The Idaho Education Association's political action arm spent the most of any special interest group, $573,564.