In a closely watched Democratic race, Branden Durst beat Matthew Duncan Tuesday night in South Boise’s District 18. Durst and Duncan are against the public education reform laws known as Students Come First or what Democrats call the “Luna laws.” They both are for ethics reform, and against requiring an ultrasound before an abortion. But Durst does have a four-year history in the Idaho Legislature.
“Come November voters in Dist. 18 have a real choice to make," Durst says. "Do they want to vote for somebody that served the Legislature in the last two years that voted for the ultrasound bill, for the Luna laws, or do they want to go with somebody who will be opposing those things and trying to find solutions to the problems that are really facing Idahoans?”
Durst’s journey to the Legislature began with a surprise upset over incumbent Representative Debbie Field back in 2006. Two years later he beat former legislator Julie Ellsworth. But in 2010, he tried to make the jump from the House to the Senate, at a time when District 18 had started to lean more Republican. Republican Mitch Toryanski also ran for that Senate seat, and narrowly beat Durst. Toryanski was unopposed in his primary Tuesday. That means he and Durst will go head-to-head in November. Toryanski has supported Students Come First, which lead to a recall effort against him last year. That failed. This year, Toryanski debated on the Senate floor in favor a bill that would have required women considering abortion to get an ultrasound. He says that won’t be a big issue in the general election.
“For a variety of reasons it’s a tempest in a teapot. The bill failed first of all. I know that some will want to make it a big issue but I don’t know that it will be.”
Toryanski says education will be the big issue in the race. The Toryanski - Durst race will likely be a close one in the general election, given the 103 votes that separated them two years ago.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio