Democratic state Sen. Nicole LeFavour of Boise raised almost $59,000 in just 12 days in March, as she began her bid to upset seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Simpson.
Simpson is still well ahead in the money race, with about $316,000 in cash, but LeFavour raised more from individuals in the first quarter ($58,996) than Simpson ($41,737). All of LeFavour's contributions were from individuals.
Simpson also raised $65,600 from political action committees in the first three months of 2012, bringing his quarterly total to $107,337.
"People just walk up and hand me money," LeFavour said Tuesday. "It's pretty wonderful. It's going to take a million dollars and I'm going to just keep asking people and hope they'll keep being generous."
LeFavour received $22,215 of her contributions through her page on Act Blue, an online tool for Democrats.
For the two-year election cycle, Simpson has raised about $715,000.
Both Simpson and LeFavour appear to be on a glide path to their party nominations in the May 15 primary in Idaho's 2nd Congressional District.
Simpson's GOP opponent, Chick Heileson did not file a report with the Federal Election Commission, meaning he hadn't yet raised $5,000 by March 31. Heileson spent $127,000 in 2010 against Simpson, winning 24 percent of the vote to Simpson's 58 percent.
LeFavour's primary opponent, Jack Wayne Chappell, also did not file a report. Chappell ran for governor as a Democrat in 1998 and won 17 percent of the primary vote, finishing third in a four-way race.
Freshman Republican Rep. Raul Labrador also had a good quarter, raising about $115,000, and reaching $532,000 for the election cycle. He has $200,000 in the bank and continues to pay his wife, Rebecca, $2,060 a month to staff the campaign. Labrador also raised more from individuals than Simpson, almost $80,000, with $34,500 comping from PACs.
Labrador's primary opponent, Reed McCandless, did not file a report.
The other leading Democratic congressional candidate, former NFL player Jimmy Farris, is struggling to raise money. He raised $13,908 in the first quarter, $10,000 of it from four contributors who gave $2,500: Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant and his wife, Pam; Russell Buschert of Eagle; and Toni Sutton of Boise.
Farris has yet to effectively tap the font of contributions from NFL players he said he expected to draw upon last fall. Free-agent tight end Alge Crumpler gave Farris $2,500 in October. Farris has raised just $25,904 in total and has $7,925 in cash.
Still, Farris seems set for a general election match against Labrador. The other 1st District Democrat, Cynthia Clinkingbeard, is facing aggravated assault charges and a court-ordered mental health evaluation. Police say she pointed a gun at three employees at a Staples store, where she was seeking to have campaign posters printed. Clinkingbeard did not file a finance report.
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