Idaho's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2014
November 4, 2014
May 20, 2014
Michael K. Simpson
Idaho has a closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in a primary election is limited to registered members of that party.
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.
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. 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.
“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.”
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. Smith also has the backing of Rod Beck, a former state senator and an influential GOP activist in the state.
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.
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. "It just never panned out," Simpson said. The PAC, which raised no money, was closed by Labrador's treasurer, Cordell Chigbrow.
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. The effort was prompted by Boehner's support of ending Bush-era breaks on the top 2 percent of taxpayers.
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."
American Chemistry Council's August 2013 ad, "Support for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)"
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."
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.
“He won’t join conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and our own Raúl Labrador, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo in opposing any government spending bill that funds Obamacare,” the ad’s narrator said in the ad.
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.”
Challenger Bryan Smith's September 2013 radio ad, "Odd Man Out."
Simpson began airing his first ad of the 2014 primary campaign against Bryan Smith on September 10, 2013. The ad, a 60-second radio spot, three times calls Smith a “personal-injury lawyer” and four times accuses him of “dishonest attacks.”
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.” The Smith ad also characterizes Smith as a “courageous conservative.”
House Speaker John Boehner will attend a fundraiser luncheon on August 26, 2013, to help his friend and colleague incumbent Mike Simpson in his bid for a ninth term. Boehner and Simpson will be joined by Republican Gov. Butch Otter in making remarks to the luncheon crowd.
Before lunch, Boehner is scheduled to appear at a private event for contributors who have made the maximum $2,600 contribution to Simpson for the 2014 primary election, said Brody Aston, Simpson’s campaign manager.
|U.S. House, Idaho District 2 General Election, 2012|
|Republican||Mike Simpson Incumbent||65.1%||207,412|
|Write-in (Democratic)||Jack Wayne Chappell (Write-in)||0.1%||235|
|Source: Idaho Secretary of State "November 6, 2012 General Election Results"|
|U.S. House of Representatives, Idaho's 2nd Congressional District, 2010|
|Republican||Michael K. Simpson Incumbent||68.8%||137,468|
- United States House of Representatives elections in Idaho, 2014
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Bryan Smith," accessed October 30, 2013
- Idaho Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Candidate List," accessed March 17,2 014
- Politico, "5 House primaries to watch," Accessed August 8, 2013
- Politico, "Idaho ground zero for GOP proxy fight," accessed August 12, 2013
- Idaho Statesman, "Dan Popkey: Idaho Rep. Labrador won't endorse Simpson," accessed August 20, 2013
- Politico, " Idaho ground zero for GOP proxy fight," accessed August 13, 2013
- Roll Call, "Club for Growth Candidate Goes on the Air Against Boehner Ally | #ID02 (Updated)," accessed September 6, 2013
- Idaho Statesman, "Simpson begins branding challenger Smith: ‘dishonest attacker, personal-injury lawyer’," accessed September 11, 2013
- Idaho Statesman, "Speaker Boehner to host $50 Boise lunch for Congressman Simpson," accessed August 20, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"