More than $22 million spent on Idaho’s 2022 elections. Here’s where it went.

Here’s a dive deep into payment records from campaign finance reports

By: - November 8, 2022 4:15 am
cash pile with hat saying 'vote'

Political candidates and PACs have spent more than $22.5 million this year on the 2022 election cycle. (Getty Images)

Political candidates and political action committees have spent more than $22.5 million this year on the 2022 election cycle.

Much of that money went — directly or indirectly — toward advertising, a main ingredient in American political campaigns that can bolster a candidate’s name recognition or image.

The rest went toward campaign operations, brochures and fliers, campaign events or donations to other candidates or causes.

Records show Idaho’s campaigns spent, at a minimum:

  • $1.6 million on yard signs, buttons and stickers
  • $36,000 at gas stations
  • $9,000 at pizza restaurants
  • $162,000 at the post office

The Idaho Capital Sun analyzed campaign finance data for 2022 from the Idaho Secretary of State’s database, which collects contribution and spending records from Idaho candidates and PACs.

The Idaho Secretary of State database does not include federal campaign records, such as for congressional candidates. Those records are collected and made public by the Federal Election Commission.

Who spent the most on their campaign?

Gov. Brad Little’s re-election campaign boasts the highest spending of any campaign this year.

In the four months leading up to Idaho’s Republican primary, Little’s campaign paid $1.3 million to a political consulting firm, FP1 Strategies, in the Washington, D.C., area. Campaign finance records show the payments were for broadcast advertising, such as television ads.

At the time, Little was guarding against several Republican challengers, including Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, running against him from the right politically.

About a week before the primary, Little’s campaign made the single largest expenditure so far this year: $210,070 to FP1 Strategies for broadcast ads.

Little won the primary on May 17 with 53% of the vote — finishing 21 points ahead of McGeachin.

Among reviews by Republican politicians that are now displayed on FP1’s website, Little is quoted saying the firm’s “strategic counsel and powerful ads made the difference in my race.”

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton was a senior investigative reporter with the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover included health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.