2012 elections preview: Idaho voters prepare for congressional and legislative primaries

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May 14, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues tomorrow with elections in Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon. In Idaho voters will decide on two U.S. House racesand all 105 state legislative seats.

Contested Primaries in Idaho -- May 15, 2012
U.S. House
(2 seats)
State Legislature
(105 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 2 (100%) 10 (9.52%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 2 (100%) 60 (57.14%)


See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Idaho, 2012

Idaho has 2 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 8 candidates have filed to run, made up of 4 Democratic challengers, 2 Republican challengers, and 2 incumbents. Including the three states with primaries tomorrow, a total of 106 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 58.02% of possible primaries have been contested. Idaho's contested figure of 100% is well above the national average.

In the 1st district, former NFL player Jimmy Farris is running on the Democratic ticket against candidate Cynthia Clinkingbeard. On the Republican ticket, incumbent Raul Labrador is seeking re-election against challenger Reed McCandless. Clinkingbeard suspended her campaign after charges were filed against her stemming from an incident where she allegedly threatened an office supply store employee with a gun.[1][2][3]

In the 2nd district, Democratic candidates, Jack Wayne Chappell and Nicole LeFavour are facing off for the nomination. LeFavour is currently a state senator serving in the Idaho State Senate. Incumbent Mike Simpson is running against challenger M.C. Heileson on the Republican ticket.

Both Simpson and Labrador are considered “strong incumbents" in the primary election tomorrow.[4]

Members of the U.S. House from Idaho -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 0 0
     Republican Party 2 2
Total 2 2

State legislatures

Idaho State Senate elections, 2012 and Idaho House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 125 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 35 Senate seats and 70 House seats.

There are 10 (9.52%) contested Democratic primaries and 60 (57.14%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 70 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 33.33% figure of contested primaries in Idaho is higher than the current national contested average of 23.42% for states that have had filing deadlines.

A total of 35 incumbents - 26 Republicans and 9 Democrats - chose not to seek re-election. Of those, 9 are senators and 26 are representatives.

With Republicans dominating the state, the primaries will in many cases serve as the main battleground of the 2012 election. Tea party members and libertarians are actively targeting incumbents who they say are no longer in line with republican values. Big business associations have been dumping last minute contributions in the races in order to defeat tea party candidates. Among those they are seeking to protect are Senators Shawn Keough and Patti Anne Lodge and Rep. George Eskridge.[5]

  • In District 1 Sen. Keough is facing a challenge from Danielle Ahrens, a tea party supporter who has never run for office. The Free Enterprise PAC has attacked Keough as "the No. 1 big spender in Boise" while referring to Ahrens as "an actual Republican."[6]
  • Sen. Lodge is facing a primary challenge from Maurice Clements in District 11. Clements, a former legislator and conservative farmer, has found himself targeted by groups such as the Idaho Association of Realtors. Lobbyist for the IAR John Eaton called Clements “the perfect example" of candidates they are targeting, saying, "He wants to legalize pot. That's the kind of stuff that the business community would never support."[7]
  • Rep. Eskridge is facing Pam Stout for the Republican nomination in House District 1B. Stout, who heads a tea party group, made a name for herself when she appeared on the David Letterman show to talk about tea partiers. She has found support from incumbent Rep. Bob Nonini. Eskridge, meanwhile, has assured voters that there is no doubt he is a conservative.[5]

Republicans have large majorities in both chambers of the Idaho State Legislature.

Idaho State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 7 6
     Republican Party 28 29
Total 35 35

Idaho House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 13 13
     Republican Party 57 57
Total 70 70

See also

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