Cruz Controls Idaho's GOP Primary

Mar 8, 2016

Ted Cruz campaigning in Boise Saturday. The Texas Senator easily won Idaho's GOP presidential primary on Tuesday.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho was no small-potatoes for Ted Cruz after winning Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in the Gem State.

Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, beat out Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich and added a seventh state to his win tally in the 2016 race for the White House.

"Idahoans are looking for more substance," said state Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell. "(Trump) tends to skim the issues. It's harder for him to make those inroads in Idaho. We've been about conservatism for a lot longer than he has."

Cruz was clearly the leader shortly after polls closed and results began trickling in. It was too early as of 10:30 p.m. to know how many of Idaho's 32 delegates would be divided up among the candidates.

Voter turnout varied across the state as Idahoans turned to participate in a GOP presidential primary in March, rather than in May.

Last year, state lawmakers bumped up the primary after getting fed up with the GOP presidential nominee already being determined by the time Idaho Republicans cast their vote. However, the earlier date had some worried that turnout could be low, because Idaho GOP voters aren't used to casting a ballot at this point in election season.

Election workers at one site in Garden City said they had people waiting in line when the doors opened at 8 a.m. A polling location in Nampa called in extra workers after more voters than expected showed up early. But even with the wait, voters stuck around to make their choice.

Tina McKnight, 43, a stay-at-home grandma in Nampa, said she supports Ted Cruz because she didn't want Donald Trump doesn't to win.

"(Trump) is too boisterous. He's too negative. I haven't heard any real things he says he's going to do for the country or how he is going to do it for the country," she said. "It's all name calling and bullying. I don't want that as president. "