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Boise mayoral candidate Mike Masterson returns donation after donor’s anti-gay post

Boise mayoral candidate Mike Masterson returned $100 on Tuesday to a former local college-trustee candidate who made an anti-gay post online.

Masterson, who is running against Mayor Lauren McLean in November and is a former Boise police chief, returned the donation to Ryan Spoon.

Spoon lost a race to join the College of Western Idaho’s board of trustees in 2022 on a platform to cut public school spending and reduce property taxes, according to previous Idaho Statesman reporting.

Earlier this month, Spoon posted a photo of a message he said had flown over the Boise Pride Festival, which read: “Rainbow is Gods (sic) not yours.”

“Flying over the Filth Fest (aka, Pride Fest),” Spoon said in his post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Spoon donated $100 to Masterson in July, which McLean’s campaign manager, Melanie Folwell, pointed out on X on Sunday.

“Last night I became aware of this issue and immediately returned the contribution,” Masterson said in an emailed statement to the Statesman. “I can tolerate differences of opinion, but can’t accept support that violates my personal values. I have spoken out against discrimination throughout my career wherever, and whenever, I have found it.”

Spoon told the Statesman that he would comment only if a statement of at least 300 words he issued be printed in its entirety.

In May, McLean’s campaign returned a $1,000 donation from a New York political action committee connected with a corporate firm after having pledged to not take money from corporate PACs. BoiseDev pointed out the PAC’s corporate connections to the campaign, which initially said the PAC was employee-funded.