Election Roundup: Idaho Voters To Decide Major Races And Issues

Nov 6, 2012

Gem State voters choose between Romney, Obama

Idaho voters are getting ready to pick the next U.S. President — and if history is any guide, Gem State voters will throw their support behind Republican Mitt Romney.

Idaho is among the nation's reddest states, and its four electoral votes haven't been awarded to a Democrat since 1964.

Idahoans cast their ballots in Election 2012.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Romney is the clear favorite for several reasons.

His candidacy has been championed by some of the state's GOP stalwarts, including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who is Romney's state campaign chairman.

The former Massachusetts governor emerged as the winner in Idaho's first-ever Republican caucus in March and he's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints — a religion shared by a quarter of Idaho's population.

Romney has also held fundraisers this year in Boise, Ketchum and Idaho Falls.

Voters to decide on hunt, fish and trap measure

There is little doubt Idaho residents love heading to the backcountry to hunt or fish.

The question before voters Tuesday is whether the right to hunt, fish and trap should be protected in the Idaho Constitution.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved HJR2 with support from both parties.

If approved at the polls, Idaho would join 13 other states that have amended their constitutions to preserve into perpetuity the collective right to hunt, fish and trap.

Supporters say protections are essential to preventing restrictions from outside animal rights groups or changing public attitudes on those activities.

But not everyone is convinced a constitutional amendment is necessary — especially for trapping.

Critics say trapping remains cruel and inhumane. Foes also say the constitution was never intended to protect such activities.

Ed overhaul is easily Idaho's top 2012 poll issue

Public schools chief Tom Luna spent the last days of the campaign to preserve his "Students Come First" education overhaul promoting this message: Teachers unions are putting their interests above those of Idaho's schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, foes of Luna's changes also stayed on the offensive as voters streamed into the polls, encouraging them to reject the changes on grounds they were forced on teachers.

On Tuesday, Luna and Mike Lanza, chairman of the "Vote No on Propositions 1,2 and 3, had just hours to wait before learning who would come out on top.

The campaign is among the most expensive in Idaho history, topping out at some $6 million combined.

Luna's changes, passed by the 2011 Legislature, limit union bargaining, promote teacher merit pay and lease laptops for high school students.

Idaho's Farris takes on Labrador after racing T.O.

As an NFL football player, Jimmy Farris once raced Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens to a standstill in a 40-yard-dash challenge: After splitting the first two heats, the third ended in a photo-finish draw.

Now retired from football, Farris is running as a Democrat on Tuesday against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador.

With T.O., it was a gentleman's bet.

With Labrador, Idaho's 1st Congressional District is on the line.

Farris quit his NFL career three years ago before launching hopes to end Labrador's congressional run at one term.

But Labrador outraised his rival some eight-fold.

In two years, Labrador has championed fiscal austerity — even taking on such sacred cows as the Idaho National Laboratory as part of his efforts to trim spending and reduce the nation's deficit.

In Idaho, LeFavour takes on Simpson, long odds

Voters in Idaho's 2nd Congressional District face a clear choice Tuesday: Pick U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, a Republican who has occupied the seat for 14 years, or swap him out for a Boise Democrat, state Sen. Nicole LeFavour.

LaFavour took on a challenge of mammoth proportions with her March announcement that she'd try to unseat Simpson.

He's won by an average 36 percentage points since taking office in 1998.

As the contest escalated in October, LeFavour has repeatedly accused Simpson of violating Idaho voters' trust by supporting big changes to Medicare and opposing a 2009 law bolstering equal-wage protections for women.

Simpson debated LeFavour twice, but otherwise focused more on what he plans to do when he returns to Washington, D.C., particularly help trim the nation's $16 trillion debt.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press