Congressman Mike Simpson Easily Defeats Tea Party Challenger In Idaho

May 20, 2014

Bryan Smith (foreground) is an Idaho Falls attorney who was supported by the national group, Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

The Associated Press has called Idaho's Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District for eight-term incumbent Mike Simpson.

Simpson had faced a tough primary challenge from tea party-backed candidate Bryan Smith.

Simpson's opponent, Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith, got an endorsement from the Club for Growth. Smith had said Simpson was too liberal for Idaho, citing his October 2013 decision to end the 16-day partial government shutdown Republicans attempted to use to force an end to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Simpson, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says he has a strong conservative voting record in his eight terms in office.

The race was considered a Republican Party bellwether as many candidates from around the country were facing challenges from within their own party.

The 2nd District encompasses the eastern half of the state and is home to farms and ranches, the Idaho National Laboratory nuclear facility, and the churches and temples representing a strong presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Simpson will face Democrat Richard Stallings in the November general election.

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Raul Labrador also won their respective GOP primaries Tuesday night. Rep. Labrador will face Idaho state Representative Shirley Ringo, a Democrat, and Sen. Risch will face Democrat Nels Mitchell in the general election.

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