The gloves are off over out-of-state cash, but State Rep. Bill Sali is still laughing all the way to the bank. While he has had to defend himself against repeated attacks by Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez over his support from the national political group Club For Growth, Sali is still the undisputed leader in the money race as we go down to the wire for the May 23 primary.
Between April 1 and May 3, Sali pulled in $93,735 in donations, according to his report filed at the Federal Elections Commission May 12. After spending $112,793 during that time, he's still got $15,152 in the bank because he had cash on hand before the filing period. All told, Sali has raised $386,498 so far.
Vasquez isn't doing too shabby either; he picked up $60,499 during the same period, according to his FEC filing of the same date. After spending $60,860 on campaign expenses he still has $18,722 in the bank ready for the next event. Overall he's raised $238,606, according to the FEC.
Sheila Sorensen trails both of them, with $39,976 raised from April 1 to May 3, according to her FEC reports. After spending $53,463 she's got a paltry $6,479 in the bank, leaving her without much ammo if she were to get beyond the primary for a general-election bid.
"Only Mr. Sali is having his campaign funded by the Club For Growth," Vasquez said.
Sali said later that though many were out-of-state, his donations were still by and large from individuals. "They live in districts where they have no chance of electing a Republican," Sali said. "They look around the country and they say, 'There's a guy who has a chance of winning this election."
Sali and Vasquez nattered at each other so much at a recent AARP forum that fellow GOP candidate Norm Semanko joked, "Bill and Robert, we might need to get you guys a room."