Two ads screenshots

Screenshots from the latest campaign commercials in the governor's race

In the final week before Tuesday’s primary election, Idaho’s airwaves are crackling with charges and counter-charges, as candidates get in their last shots before voters head to the polls.

In a single hour of local news programming on Idaho Press news partner KTVB-TV on Wednesday, 26 political commercials aired, all in Idaho GOP primary races, and that’s including only a handful of repeats. “For voters watching, it’s a lot to kind of process at once,” said Boise State University political scientist Jaclyn Kettler.

It also becomes increasingly hard to tell which messages are from the candidates and which are from outside groups, she noted; two outside groups are running ads in the 2nd Congressional District primary race, in addition to the candidates’ own ads; and another outside group, Club for Growth Action, is running ads in favor of Raul Labrador for Idaho attorney general.

But Kettler said research suggests that “the more ads you see, the more you’re aware that there’s an election.” Viewers might not enjoy the onslaught, she said, but it might give them more information and motivation as they prepare to make their picks at the polls.

Both incumbent GOP Gov. Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is challenging him in the primary, have new ads out this week directly attacking each other. Also, GOP Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has a new ad against Labrador. You can read my full story here at (subscription required) for a look at the current crop of campaign commercials and their messages, or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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