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Battle of the PACs: Firefighters/developer and Conservation Voters duke it out on behalf of Boise candidates

Boise Mayoral Election

The race for Boise Mayor in 2019 continues its historic run of spending.

To date, according to campaign disclosures, the candidates and political action committees have spent more than $600,000 on the Boise mayor’s race alone.

  • This year, the Dave Bieter campaign raised $298,000 and spent $253,000. With cash in the bank from prior years, Bieter reported $104,000 left in the bank as of yesterday.
  • Lauren McLean raised $244,000 this year. The campaign spent $117,000 and has $126,000 left.
  • Rebecca Arnold raised $41,000 this year. Her campaign spent $10,000 and has $31,000 left in the bank.
  • Cortney Nielsen raised $1,697 so far and spent $1,385 – leaving $311 as of yesterday.
  • Wayne Richey wrote his campaign a check for $1,233 in September and spent all of it. He raised no additional money and has no money in the bank.
  • Brent Coles raised $7,495 this year and spent $3,578. He has $3,916 remaining.

Read candidate Q&As

Boise: Mayor | Council 1 | Council 3 | Council 5
Meridian: Mayor | Council 1 | Council 3 | Council 5

Battle of the TV ads

But two political action committees put out big cash on behalf of their preferred candidates.

Bright Future Boise, a political action committee running television ads on behalf of Dave Bieter, raised $91,500. The money came primarily from two sources. Salt Lake City-based developer Gardner Co. put $25,000 into the pot. A variety of firefighter-related organizations poured in most of the rest. Fire PACs in Montana, Seattle, Washington, DC, Meridian and Boise all gave cash.

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The majority of the PAC’s money went to Media Partners of Oregon – to be spent on television ads. Media Partners placed ads on KIVI 6, KBOI 2 and KTVB 7 on behalf of Bieter. The ads popped up in programs like Saturday Night Live, local newscasts and Wheel of Fortune.

Conservation Voters for Idaho raised $199,000 this year, and already had $64,000 in its coffers to start the year – giving it a massive $263,000 war chest. CVI wrote an $87,500 check to Boise media agency Rizen Creative. Rizen placed television ads on KIVI, KTVB and KNIN 9 touting Lauren McLean.

CVI placed TV ads for McLean in the World Series, newscasts and football. A scan of local newscasts on KTVB and KBOI shows significantly more McLean ads. During the market’s highest-rated newscast, KTVB’s News at Ten on October 29th, for instance, two ads touting McLean ran, while none ran for Bieter

As BoiseDev previously reported, CVI has also given donations on behalf of other candidates it endorsed, across the state.

While local television ratings have declined in recent years, it remains an efficient vehicle to reach engaged potential voters and older citizens.

Both CVI and Bright Boise Future also put dollars into Facebook ads and direct mail campaigns on behalf of their chosen candidates.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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