Ybarra vs Dillon Campaign Finance Disclosures Fuels Speculation, Unknowns

Today was the due date for candidates’ 2017 annual election finance disclosure reports.

View Ybarra’s Return

View Dillon’s Return

And while at first glance there does not appear to be anything too juicy, the absence of some items is the real story.

For starters: neither candidate did a heck of a lot of fundraising in the past cycle. Both campaigns appear to be more or less in fundraising hibernation.

Supt. of Public Instruction Ybarra

Ybarra took in a measly $3,300 this cycle. Of that, she wrote her own campaign a check for $2,000.

Dillon did slightly better with $4,175. Of that, more than half–$2,500 the maximum allowable amount from a single individual–came from a single out of state donation from California.

Ybarra didn’t have many notable expenditures. Her largest was $500 paid to Idaho Federation of Republican women.

Jeff Dillon, Supt. of Wilder School District

Dillon, however, had a few interesting disbursements. The largest was a combined total disbursement of $3,800 to Exploration Services in Nampa for polling. This is to be expected so Dillon can pinpoint which areas to saturate with ads in a return for the biggest bang for the buck.

He also scored a good deal by spending $300 in broadcast advertising and scoring a $1,000 in kind contribution with Trident Media Productions.

Yet, the real news is to be expected: any donation that the other candidate can play off as an out of state financed campaign or otherwise questionable contribution won’t happen until tomorrow at a minimum.

That’s because Idaho’s sunshine laws don’t require the next set of disclosures until a week before the May primary.

In other words, there’s little sense in asking for potentially controversial donations early in the campaign, when you could just wait until February 1st and not have to disclose it until the campaign is all but over.

My hunch is that Dillon has some heavy hitters lined up with checks in the mail arriving at his mailbox tomorrow. I don’t think he would have pulled the trigger on a campaign without securing substantial commitment beforehand.

Ybarra is in a tough spot. The legislature is in session; hardly the ideal time to mount a campaign. Add in an opponent whose fundraising is u underwhelming, and it looks like she has a lot to be happy about.

But if the Dillon strategy is to start getting aggressive in the fundraising cycle that starts tomorrow, she might have little time to engage in a serious campaign herself by the time it becomes apparent her opponent is waging a legitimate statewide campaign.

If the mailers start hitting the post office, ads on the radio launch, and social media becomes saturated with Dillon’s campaign, she will have her answer.  But by that time, it may very well be too late.

She has an incumbent statewide name recognition, but if she faces a real campaign, I don’t know that will be enough for her to slide to a win.


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