Avista Corp, an investor owned electric and gas utility for northern Idaho, made a financial push to unseat two incumbents that failed. Both Avista and Idaho Power gave $1,000 to Pam Stout, the Tea Party opponent to Rep. George Eskridge, former Bonneville Power Administration district manager.
But Avista went a step further giving $15,000 to three political action committees that helped Stout and Danielle Ahrens who challenged Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.
Eskridge, who co-chaired an interim committee on energy, clashed with the investor-owned utilities on renewable energy issues. Keough’s only issue for Avista was a 10 year-old bill that would have set up a consumer advocate before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.
Idaho Power even gave her $1,000.
Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, who also won, said Avista’s effort failed in part because the three lawmakers campaigned together as a team. Anderson, who used to serve on an electrical cooperative board, also is deeply involved in energy issues but was not targeted.
He’s hoping his good relations with Avista executives can help nurse the wounds opened during the campaign. Anderson opposed the consumer advocate issue this session but he expects it will return with stronger support.
“I look forward to bridge building but the hurt is deep,” Anderson said.