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Countdown to election day: a look into Pocatello’s campaign funding

With election day now only two weeks away, city-wide campaigns are starting to heat-up.

Pocatello city clerk Ruth Whitworth decided this election year, voters should be able to access the candidates’ campaign finance reports whenever they want, so they are now accessible online through the city’s website.

“We just felt like the citizens and voters expect to have that information right at their fingertips,” Whitworth said.

Looking at the top two mayoral candidates, former mayor Roger Chase has raised $24,650.27 since the report was due on September 31, which encompasses all expenditures up to the start of the campaign.

Although incumbent Mayor Brian Blad was off to a late start, he has currently raised $5,250 in total contributions.

Chase’s top donor is land developer Bill Isley, who has faced some contention with Blad and the Bureau of Land Management in the past regarding development in the south-end of Pocatello.

Isley said this election is important to him and his contribution is independent from his business relationship with Chase.

“Roger and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on many issues,” Isley said. “So, it’s not like he’s a bosom buddy, but rather it’s somebody we respect.”

Isley personally donated $250 and another $1,500 through his three other investment companies. His partner Brad Frasure also donated $750 to that sum.

Blad’s biggest contributors are Fahim and Naeem Rahim, both local doctors and founders of the nonprofit Hometown Heroes.

Both brothers each contributed $1,000 to Blad’s campaign.

One of Blad’s campaign managers Dane Simmons noted they are still positive about this campaign and they’re just now starting to get their feet wet.

“Blad’s focus has been on running the city of Pocatello,” Simmons said. “We do have some fundraising events coming up and we will see how the dollars fall after the events.”

Over a phone interview, Fahim Rahim mentioned his unparalleled support for Blad is because he feels Blad is a non-partisan, non-career politician.

Whitworth said both individuals and organizations cannot exceed a $1,000 donation to one particular campaign, however there is no limit to candidates donating to their own campaign.

Other mayoral candidate Paul Shepard is his own biggest contributor, donating $920 to his campaign totaling $960. Idaho Lorax has raised a total of $3.82 for his campaign.

Whitworth also mentioned the next and final due date for candidates to submit their next expenditure report is October 29.

Election day is held on November 5.

Here is a link to the city’s website listing the candidates’ expenditure reports.

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