Proponents of Superintendent Tom Luna's K-12 reforms appear to have the upper hand in the final days of the campaign, based on the latest campaign finance filings in the Secretary of State's office.
Proponents reported an additional $153,469 in spending, while opponents reported just $8,153. Those figures come from
48-hour notices of contributions over $1,000 filed since Thursday morning. Notification must be made within 48 hours of receipt in the final 16 days of the campaign, so opponents may have new filings today or Tuesday that could change the arithmetic.
But as of Monday morning, proponents appear to be closing the funding gap a bit. Proponents have reported fundraising of $2,769,929. Opponents have reported $3,571,378, with $616,239 from the Idaho Education Association and $2,816,436 from the National Education Association.
Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot, the major benefactor of the "Yes" campaign, gave $150,569 more to save Superintendent Tom Luna's "Students Come First" laws.
Consequently, anyone watching football, as I did, over the weekend saw plenty of ads backing Propositions 1, 2 and 3. VanderSloot has vowed to counter union money opposing the K-12 reform laws. To date, he has reported giving $1,594,145.
VanderSloot told me this Monday morning: "We have spent far more than we originally anticipated. When we learned that the 501(c) 4 funds had been tied up by the Secretary of State, others were not in position to step forward to carry the ball so felt we had to. I don't know what the exact final number will be. But we're pretty much at the end of the ball game."
VanderSloot was referring to Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's suing a new nonprofit group that led to last week's disclosure by the group, Education Voters of Idaho, that it had raised $641,160 to support the propositions.
The Canyon County Republican Central Committee also reported spending $2,900 on an independent effort to support the laws Friday.
Opponents' new filings since I last checked on Thursday morning, increased just $8,153, with $4,710 from the Idaho Education Association, $1,800 from the National Education Association and $1,643 from the Pocatello Education Association.
Melaleuca and another VanderSloot company, Natural Guardian, filed 48-hour notices for its independent expenditures that were time-stamped 5:19 p.m. Friday, totaling $111,588. Another $38,981 was reported as an in-kind contribution by Melaleuca to Yes for Idaho Education.
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