Crowded Idaho Primaries Could Overwhelm Voters

Mar 12, 2018

A slew of candidates are running for the open First District Congressional seat, the governorship and lieutenant governor.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The deadline to file as a candidate in the upcoming May primary passed at 5 p.m. Friday, March 9.

Twelve people are running for governor according to the Secretary of State’s office. Familiar names in Idaho politics are on the list: Raul Labrador, Brad Little and A.J. Balukoff to name a few. And two candidates who went viral in the 2014 governor’s race – Walter Bayes and Harley Brown – are also running.

College of Idaho political economy professor Jasper LiCalzi says this primary season is one of the widest open he’s seen in 25 years.

“I always get the question: ‘Who’s going to win?’” LiCalzi says. “Well, I have no idea whatsoever because there’s so many variables that go into this.”

A dozen candidates have also filed to fill the open District 1 congressional seat. With so many people running, LiCalzi says it can overwhelm voters because there are no cues for them.

“It’s difficult,” says LiCalzi. “There’s also not necessarily as much information that’s out there. And you have the chance, say with the Republicans in the governor’s race or in the First Congressional District – somebody with 25 percent of the vote could win.”

At eight candidates, the race for lieutenant governor is comparatively narrow. Idaho’s primary election is May 15; the general election is November 6.

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