Idaho's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2014

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Idaho's 2nd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 20, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Michael K. Simpson Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Michael K. Simpson Republican Party
Michael K. Simpson.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Solid R[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Safe R[2]

Fairvote's Monopoly Politics: Safe R[3]

Idaho U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Idaho.png
The 2nd Congressional District of Idaho will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014.
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 14, 2014
May 20, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Idaho has a semi-closed primary system, in which parties decide who may vote. The Democratic Party allows unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary. The Republican Party allows only voters registered with their party. Unaffiliated voters can choose to affiliate with a party on election day, but they will be bound to that party at the next election as well.

Voter registration: Pending

See also: Idaho elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Mike Simpson (R), who was first elected in 1998.

Idaho's 2nd Congressional District encompasses eastern Idaho and the Magic Valley region of the state and other outlying areas, as well as a small portion of the Boise Metropolitan Area, including two-thirds of the city of Boise itself. Other major cities in the district include Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Rexburg.


Note: Prior to the signature filing deadline, candidates will be added when Ballotpedia writers come across declared candidates. If you see a name of a candidate who is missing, please email us and we will add that name. As the election draws closer, more information will be added to this page.General election candidates

May 20, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Race background

Politico published a list in August 2013 of the five primaries to watch in 2014. Idaho's 2nd Congressional District was included on the list.[6]

In December 2013, the Republican primary race ranked nineth in a list from the Washington Post of the top ten races to watch in 2014.[7]

Mike Simpson (R), a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, is facing what some are calling his most serious race since he was first elected to the House in 1998.[6]

Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District is turning into a proxy war for the middle-right of the Republican Party and the right-right of the Republican Party,” said Phil Hardy, an Idaho Republican operative and a political analyst in the state. “It’s already happening.”[8]

Attorney Bryan Smith, who has the backing of the anti-tax Club for Growth and RedState founder Erick Erickson, is portraying the incumbent as insufficiently conservative and soft on spending issues.[6] Smith also has the backing of Rod Beck, a former state senator and an influential GOP activist in the state.[6]

Simpson, however, is taking the race seriously, raking in an impressive $306,000 during the second quarter. Smith, meanwhile, suffered an early setback when The Associated Press published a report last week that he had been using a donor’s private airplane to fly to campaign events.

Since 1918, just one Idaho representative has failed to win his party’s nomination before managing to win in the general election.[6]


Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[9] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[10] Simpson voted to approve the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[11]

Voted "Yes" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[12] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Simpson voted for HR 2775.[13]


Rep. Raul Labrador said he will not observe the longstanding custom of endorsing fellow Republican Rep. Mike Simpson over primary challenger Bryan Smith.[14]

Simpson, however, says he will back Labrador over primary challenger Michael Greenway. "Well, let me just say I'm supporting Raul," Simpson said on August 8, 2013.[14]

The two colleagues also have abandoned plans to raise campaign money together. In June 2013, a joint political action committee, the Simpson-Labrador Victory Fund, was shut down after two years.[14] "It just never panned out," Simpson said.[14] The PAC, which raised no money, was closed by Labrador's treasurer, Cordell Chigbrow.[14]

Sharp and personal differences became public in January 2013, when Simpson blasted Labrador for leading a tea party faction that attempted to overthrow House Speaker John Boehner.[14] The effort was prompted by Boehner's support of ending Bush-era breaks on the top 2 percent of taxpayers.[14]

Simpson called Labrador, who received a vote for speaker from Rep. Justin Amash, "irresponsible" and said he had "substantially lost credibility." Labrador replied that Simpson was a "bully" and an "old-school legislator who went to Washington, D.C., to compromise."[14]


American Chemistry Council's August 2013 ad, "Support for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)"

Challenger Bryan Smith's September 2013 radio ad, "Odd Man Out."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce's February 2014 ad, "Trial Lawyer: Bryan Smith."

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a Washington, D.C.-based group headed up by former California Democratic Rep. Cal Dooley began running a TV advertisement praising Mike Simpson, who is "working to protect and create jobs" and whose top priority is to "cut government to grow our economy."[15]

“Fortunately, Idaho has Mike Simpson working for us,” says the ad, which is slated to run for three weeks.[15]

The American Chemistry Council is not regarded as a frequent player in congressional elections, but Dooley, who came with Boehner to the House in 1990 and who served with him on the House Agriculture Committee, likes to help out the speaker’s friends. To survive re-election, Simpson will be counting on the support of Washington’s heavy hitters — and his friend John Boehner in particular.[15]

Bryan Smith

Challenger Bryan Smith released on September 5, 2013, a radio ad that attacked incumbent Mike Simpson for not supporting a recent tea party effort to defund the 2010 health care overhaul.[16]

“He won’t join conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and our own Raul Labrador, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo in opposing any government spending bill that funds Obamacare,” the ad’s narrator said in the ad.[16]

Simpson's campaign responded to the ad by saying, “The only thing more ridiculous than personal injury lawyer Bryan Smith’s selective ignorance of conservative Republican Mike Simpson’s record fighting against Obama-care, is Mr. Smith’s wild-eyed claim that Mike’s a liberal in spite of the fact that Mike Simpson’s earned A ratings from the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life, National Federation of Independent Business and the Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately, Idahoans know that Mike Simpson voted against Obama-care, has voted 40 times to either repeal or defund Obama-care and they are just beginning to know that Bryan Smith is merely a personal injury lawyer who predictably is going to say and do anything to try and get himself elected.”[16]

Mike Simpson

Simpson began airing his first ad of the 2014 primary campaign against Bryan Smith on September 10, 2013.[17] The ad, a 60-second radio spot, three times calls Smith a “personal-injury lawyer” and four times accuses him of “dishonest attacks.”[17]

The ad also four times characterizes Simpson as a “conservative Republican” and notes his top ratings from the NRA and National Right to Life.[17]

Simpson’s radio ad is in response to Smith’s 60-second radio spot, which called Simpson a “liberal career politician” and said he won’t oppose “any government spending bill that funds Obamacare.”[17] The Smith ad also characterizes Smith as a “courageous conservative.”[17]

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a series of ads backing Mike Simpson in early December 2013.[18]

"Mike Simpson, conservative, Idaho strong," the ad said. "Pelosi and her allies want more government spending and more regulations. No way. Mike Simpson is fighting back, working for a balanced budget, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, fixing the Obamacare mess."[18]

Rob Engstrom, national political director for the Chamber, said the ads mark the start of the organization's voter education effort as it looks to "protect and expand the pro-business majority in the House and gain seats in the Senate."[18]

"We will aggressively back candidates who support the American free enterprise system and economic growth, and oppose those who stand in the way," Engstrom said. "The focus is on conservative, pro-job, pro-business candidates who will ensure that former Speaker Pelosi keeps her title."[18]

The group launched a second ad on February 27, 2014.[19][20]>The Hill, "Chamber rips Simpson's 'trial lawyer' opponent," accessed March 3, 2014</ref> The ad attacked challenger Bryan Smith for his work as a trial lawyer.[20]

"Trial lawyer Bryan Smith stood in the way when conservatives tried to end junk lawsuits in Idaho. Smith opposed doctors, ranchers and small businesses, protecting his fellow trial lawyers instead. Trial lawyers like Bryan Smith are a part of the problem, wrong for Idaho," the ad's narrator said.[20]


Mike Simpson

Before lunch, Boehner appeared at a private event for contributors who made the maximum $2,600 contribution to Simpson for the 2014 primary election, said Brody Aston, Simpson’s campaign manager.[21]

  • Mitt Romney - 2012 Republican presidential candidate[22]
    • Romey endorsed Simpson in a fundraising email on November 18, 2013. In the email he said, “Congressman Mike Simpson is a proven conservative and ‘Idaho tough. But some groups from outside Idaho have decided to attack Mike and distort his conservative record. He needs our help to fight back and set the record straight.”[23]
  • American Dental Association spent $22,386 on mailers supporting Simpson, as of January 2, 2014.[24][25]
  • United States Chamber of Commerce endorsed Simpson on February 20, 2014.[26]

Refusal to endorse

Byran Smith

Smith received endorsements from the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks.[27][28] The Madison Project endorsed Smith on September 10, 2013.[29]

Campaign contributions

In the third quarter of 2013, from July to September, Bryan Smith raised more than $275,000, and ended the quarter with $300,000 cash-on-hand.[30]

During the same period, Simpson said he set a personal record for fundraising, raising over $437,000.[31] At the end of the quarter, Simpson had $600,000 cash on hand.[31]

Simpson said in a news release: “I couldn’t be happier with the response we are getting from Idahoans and with the strong momentum we are experiencing in this race. The people of Idaho know that I have worked hard to protect gun rights, promote a balanced budget amendment, and prevent the onerous impacts of Obamacare. The record setting response we’re seeing to my conservative message confirms that we are on a strong path to re-election.”[31]

Michael K. Simpson

Bryan Smith

District history

Candidate ballot access
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Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 6, 2012, Mike Simpson (R) won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Nicole LeFavour in the general election.

U.S. House, Idaho District 2 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMike Simpson Incumbent 65.1% 207,412
     Democratic Nicole LeFavour 34.8% 110,847
     Write-in (Democratic) Jack Wayne Chappell (Write-in) 0.1% 235
Total Votes 318,494
Source: Idaho Secretary of State "November 6, 2012 General Election Results"


On November 2, 2010, Michael K. Simpson won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Mike Crawford (D) and Brian Schad (I) in the general election.[42]

U.S. House, Idaho District 2 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMichael K. Simpson incumbent 68.8% 137,468
     Democratic Mike Crawford 24.4% 48,749
     Independent Brian Schad 6.8% 13,500
Total Votes 199,717

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR June 26, 2014," accessed August 5, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 5, 2014
  3. Fairvote, "FairVote Releases Projections for the 2014 Congressional Elections," accessed August 5, 2014
  4. Federal Election Commission, "Bryan Smith," accessed October 30, 2013
  5. Idaho Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Candidate List," accessed March 17,2 014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Politico, "5 House primaries to watch," Accessed August 8, 2013
  7. Washington Post, "The top 10 races of 2014: No. 9 (VIDEO)," accessed December 13, 2013
  8. Politico, "Idaho ground zero for GOP proxy fight," accessed August 12, 2013
  9. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  10. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  11. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  12. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  13. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 Idaho Statesman, "Dan Popkey: Idaho Rep. Labrador won't endorse Simpson," accessed August 20, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Politico, " Idaho ground zero for GOP proxy fight," accessed August 13, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Roll Call, "Club for Growth Candidate Goes on the Air Against Boehner Ally | #ID02 (Updated)," accessed September 6, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Idaho Statesman, "Simpson begins branding challenger Smith: ‘dishonest attacker, personal-injury lawyer’," accessed September 11, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Politico, "Chamber of Commerce ads to run in Idaho, W.Va.," accessed December 5, 2013
  19. Friend of the US Chamber, "Idaho's 2nd Congressional District," accessed March 3, 2014
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named triallaw
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Idaho Statesman, "Speaker Boehner to host $50 Boise lunch for Congressman Simpson," accessed August 20, 2013
  22. Politico, "Mitt Romney backs Mike Simpson in Idaho race," accessed November 19, 2013
  23. Roll Call, "Mitt Romney Endorses in House GOP Primary in Idaho," accessed November 19, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission, "AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES COMMITTEE," accessed January 6, 2014
  25. Open Secrets, "American Dental Association," accessed January 6, 2014
  26. Idaho Statesman, "CD2 incumbent Simpson notches Chamber of Commerce endorsement," accessed February 24, 2014
  27. Club for Growth, "Bryan Smith," Accessed July 11, 2013
  28. Idaho Statesman, "Idaho’s Smith wins support of PAC that backed Sens. Paul and Lee," accessed September 25, 2013
  29. The Madison Project, "Bryan Smith for Congress in Idaho’s Second District," accessed February 12, 2014
  30. Washington Post, "Mike Simpson’s primary opponent raises $275,000," accessed October 8, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Idaho Statesman, "Simpson raised $437K in third quarter, Smith $275K in Idaho 2nd CD race," accessed October 9, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed February 11, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly" accessed July 29, 2013
  38. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 4, 2013
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed February 26, 2014
  40. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed May 14, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed May 14, 2014
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013