2014 Election

In 2013, the battle lines were drawn within the Republican Party. This year, war may be breaking out across the country.

The Tea Party has already proven it has the energy, influence and cash to change elections and shape the landscape of Congress. Now, moderate and establishment-oriented Republicans are trying to match their intensity.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he has more than $700,000 in cash to wage a campaign against his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Russ Fulcher.

Otter filed his latest campaign report Tuesday, outlining his 2013 fundraising when he brought in $901,000, largely from business groups.

Fulcher hasn't filed his report.

Meanwhile, Otter hasn't formally announced he's running for a third term.

Among Otter's biggest supporters were trucking lobbyists, cigarette maker Altria, retailer Wal-Mart and wealthy Emmett rancher Harry Bettis, who gave $7,500.

House.gov

The race between Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, and Bryan Smith has NPR's  attention.  Morning Edition co-host David Greene will be in Idaho this week to report on the story for a national audience.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise lawyer Nels Mitchell wants to take Idaho’s U.S. Senate seat away from Republican Jim Risch. Mitchell, a Democrat officially announced his candidacy Tuesday in Boise.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho, but most of his 30-plus year career has been spent in California and New York. That includes a stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

He returned to Boise in 2008 and works for the law firm Mauk and Burgoyne, and teaches part-time for his alma mater, the University of Idaho College of Law.

Nels Mitchell
Idaho Democratic Party

A Boise lawyer plans to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Risch.

Nels Mitchell aims to announce his run Tuesday at Boise's historic train depot.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho's capital, but spent much of his professional career as a lawyer in New York and California.

His legal experience includes several years as an associate regional director at the Securities and Exchange Commission in southern California, where he oversaw a staff of about 75 people who investigated and prosecuted securities fraud cases in the Los Angeles area.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The 2014 Idaho legislative session started just last week, but there are already people watching the calendar to see when lawmakers will go home. That matters to taxpayers because each day of the session costs roughly $30,000. 

Lawmakers aren't just thinking about the money, but they're gearing up for the primary election this May. 

In the congressional fundraising horse race, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson says he outraised challenger Bryan Smith nearly four-to-one in 2013's final quarter.

Smith announced Thursday that he raised $111,066 in the fourth quarter. The money will go to his GOP primary election bid against Simpson, with the vote on May 20.

Meanwhile, Simpson says he brought in $430,000.

In total, Simpson says he raised more than $1.25 million in 2013, with Smith raking in $525,000, including his own money, since joining the race in June.

Courtesy Jana Jones

Longtime educator, consultant and Democrat Jana Jones is the first candidate to announce a run for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Jones ran for the office in 2006 and narrowly lost to current Superintendent Tom Luna by just 2.5 percent.

Jones says the public has lost trust in Luna after his battles with teachers groups and others over his Students Come First laws. Voters repealed those laws in 2012.

A former Idaho legislator from Pocatello, Evan Frasure, is running as a Republican in the ever-more-crowded 2014 secretary of state primary.

The Idaho State Journal reports Friday Frasure plans to make a formal announcement next week.

Frasure says he believes it's the right time for somebody from eastern Idaho to fill the post.

Already, two southwestern Idaho people have joined the GOP primary race: Rep. Lawerence Denney of Midvale, and deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.

AJForIdaho.com

The Idaho Democrats' choice to run for governor was listed as a Republican five years ago.

In 2008, Anthony Joseph "A.J." Balukoff was named as a Republican backer of then-U.S. House candidate Walt Minnick.

Balukoff was among 60 "Republicans for Minnick" during the Democrat's successful run against Bill Sali.

In an August 2008 e-mail from Minnick's campaign, Balukoff topped a group that had "supported the Republican Party with time, with money and with votes. And we will continue to do so in this election and in elections to come," according to the message.

Jimmy Farris
Courtesy Jimmy Farris

Jimmy Farris, a political unknown trounced last year by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, plans to seek a seat in the state House.

Farris tells the Lewiston Tribune he plans to run as a Democrat in Boise's District 16.

He is seeking the House seat held by Democrat Grant Burgoyne, who is running for the Idaho Senate after Sen. Les Bock retires.

Boise State Public Radio

Long time Idaho political analyst Jim Weatherby says this is the most exciting governor’s race he’s seen in years.

Three people with major party backing now say they’re running. Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter hasn’t officially declared his candidacy but he’s said repeatedly he plans to run for a third term. He's hired a campaign manager and has a campaign website.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, Boise School District trustee and businessman A.J. Balukoff officially announced Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. He becomes the first Democrat to enter the race.

Balukoff's campaign website went live mid-Tuesday morning and features this announcement video.

AJForIdaho.com

Boise School Board Chairman and businessman A.J. Balukoff is expected to announce Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. The Idaho Democratic Party says Balukoff will make his announcement at Hillcrest Elementary School Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., however, a press release was leaked from at least two Facebook pages that confirmed Balukoff's gubernatorial bid.

Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says he is aware of that leaked information, but says it's an internal issue he can't comment on. Ferguson says Balukoff has made no official announcement yet.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says his recent decision not to run for a fourth term in office came down to one question.

"Did I have the inner zeal in my body, the fire in the belly to run?" Ysursa says. "I just didn't feel it. I was hopeful I'd catch the bug but I didn't. I was convinced a year ago I wasn't going to run. And then others started working on me a little bit. It was a tough decision."

Washington voters can expect a pair of dueling gun-related measures on next fall’s ballot.

Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's bid for a ninth term got an assist Monday when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an endorsement letter.

Simpson faces challenger Bryan Smith in next May's Republican primary election.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, lauded Simpson as a "stalwart conservative leader," accusing what he called "outside" groups of interfering in the race by backing Smith.

Smith has won the conservative group Club for Growth's support in his bid to unseat Simpson.

State of Idaho

Next May's Republican primary for Idaho secretary of state could get a little more crowded, now that Ben Ysursa has opted against seeking a fourth term in 2014.

Former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski of Boise said Monday he's filing official paperwork, to allow him to begin fundraising and tour Idaho.

Already, Rep. Lawerence Denney, a former House speaker from Midvale, says he wants to be the state's top election official.

Toryanski said his listening tour, to gauge sentiment among GOP voters, will start Nov. 18, but the itinerary is still being worked out.

Ben Ysursa
Courtesy of Idaho Secretary of State's office

Longtime Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says he has decided not to seek a fourth term in office.  

The veteran Republican announced his plans to step away from office Friday.

Ysursa says he thought long and hard about his future, but ultimately decided to step away from public office when his term expires in January 2015.

Ysursa is 64 years old and he has worked in the office for 40 years.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Republican state Rep. Lawerence Denney announced his run for secretary of state, even as incumbent Ben Ysursa remains undecided whether to seek a fourth term.

At an event in the Idaho Capitol in Boise, Denney on Thursday pledged to pursue election fraud allegations and said he'd work against the Idaho Department of Land's push to expand into commercial real estate where it competes with private business.

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