2014 Election

Aaron Webb / Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, voters in Pocatello will decide the fate of a law that’s been on the books for less than a year. Proposition 1 asks whether the city’s ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents should remain or be repealed. A 'yes' vote would repeal the law.

Mike Simpson has been atop the Tea Party hit list for much of this election year.

And Tuesday's primary contest between the Idaho Republican congressman and Tea Party challenger Bryan Smith had been billed as a big one in a string of GOP primary mashups that would signal the sway of the Tea Party faction — or the ability of traditional conservatives like Simpson to fight back in a deep red state.

"It's been a real-deal campaign here in Idaho," says Skip Smyser, the conservative founder of Boise-based government relations firm Lobby Idaho.

Courtesy Aaron Kunz

Idaho Public Television host Melissa Davlin says she doesn’t blame Idaho’s governor for insisting that long-shot candidates Harley Brown and Walt Bayes be invited to participate in this week’s GOP gubernatorial debate.

Jim Hadley / Idaho Public Television

Four Republican candidates vying to be Idaho's governor participated Wednesday in a debate that longtime political observers knew had the potential to be...colorful. It certainly was.

The two candidates considered to be the race's only serious contenders, incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter and state Sen. Russ Fulcher, were joined by two frequent candidates who've never been elected to any statewide office, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes.

Idaho Public Television

For the first time in almost 50 years, Idaho voters won't be given the option to choose Ben Ysursa or Pete Cenarrusa on the May 20 primary ballot.

Instead, four Republicans and one Democrat are racing to become Idaho's next secretary of state. Three out of the four GOP candidates come with legislative experience, while the fourth is currently the Ada County chief deputy clerk.

While the job serves as Idaho's chief election officer, the secretary is also a member of the Idaho Land Board and oversees business filings.

Castle Peak, Baker Ranch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If Hollywood needed a setting for one of its westerns, this spot along the East Fork of the Salmon River just might be it. In fact, one of Clint Eastwood’s famous westerns, Pale Rider, was shot not too far from here.

For the dwindling number of ranchers who still earn their livings on this land, this valley is nothing like a romanticized western – it’s gritty, year-round work.

The Baker family has lived, and ranched here for more than 125 years.

Jim Hadley / Idaho Public Television

Four candidates vying for the Idaho GOP gubernatorial nomination faced off Wednesday evening in their only scheduled debate, tackling the economy, state control of federal lands and the Affordable Health Care Act.

Two-term Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is challenged by Sen. Russ Fulcher, Walt Bayes and Harley Brown.

During the Idaho Public Television debate, Brown colorfully described the group as a cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker and a normal guy, referring to Otter, Bayes, himself and Fulcher respectively.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In a 2010 public policy survey by Boise State University, people were asked which level of government they most trust. The federal government lagged far behind state and local entities.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho GOP gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher is the latest nominee to secure an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador.

The Idaho congressman announced Monday he would support Fulcher, who is hoping to unseat two-term Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. This is the third endorsement Labrador has made in Idaho's primary statewide election race. He's also endorsed Todd Hatfield, who is challenging incumbent state Controller Brandon Woolf, and state Rep. Lawerence Denney, who is running for Secretary of State.

Democrats, Donkey, Politics
DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Two Democratic candidates spurred by a recent political scandal in the Idaho Treasurer's Office hope to oust four-term incumbent Ron Crane.

The treasurer's race is one of only two statewide political contests for the Democratic party. Crane faces no challenger in the May 20 primary election.

The Democratic primary candidates are Twin Falls accountant Deborah Silver and Boise freelance writer W. Lane Startin.

Courtesy John Eynon

John Eynon’s career path has taken several abrupt turns — from teaching music to serving as a U.S. Navy commander to working for major textbook publishers and back.

The Cottonwood high school teacher is planning his retirement from the classroom, while contemplating another career change. He is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed state schools superintendent Tom Luna.

Randy Jensen
Idaho Ed News

In this town of less than 4,500 people, Randy Jensen has taken 3,000 students to lunch.

Anyone who has played Little League baseball in the past 25 years has shared the field with Coach Jensen.

One of four Republicans vying for state superintendent of public instruction, Jensen hopes to bring the same small-town approach to statewide office.

“I’m really big on relationships – in small towns you’re able to build a lot of relationships with a lot of people,” he said. “In a small town, you can make a big difference.”

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra is a career educator and accomplished student. And that’s about all she likes to reveal publicly. 

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction prefers to keep her personal life out the papers and keep the questions and answers focused on Idaho education.

“I’d rather not say,” Ybarra said repeatedly during a recent interview at a Mountain Home coffee shop. She denied a request to be interviewed at her home or her Mountain Home School District office.

Courtesy Andy Grover

Andy Grover has been preparing for this moment all of his adult life.

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction has accomplished his checklist of tasks to place him where he is today — campaigning to oversee K-12 education in Idaho.

“I’ve always wanted to run,” Grover said. “I don’t do anything that’s not planned. We have a direction we’re going and we know why we’re doing it.”

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says no matter what, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it's known, was coming to Idaho.  

“Because if we hadn’t [have] established our own state exchange, we would have had Obamacare in Idaho,” he says. “We didn’t have a choice. We were going to have an exchange in Idaho. We were going to have the Obamacare exchange in Idaho or we were gonna have [an]  Idaho exchange in Idaho.”

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Russ Fulcher says incumbent Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter no longer represents the heart of Idaho's Republican Party.  

Fulcher, a state senator from Meridian, has been on the campaign trail since late November spreading that message. He’s the tea party candidate trying to unseat a longtime cowboy politician he says has a political “machine” behind him.

money, wages
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters won’t be making any new laws when they go to the polls in November. Efforts to get two initiatives on the ballot failed to get enough signatures by Wednesday’s deadline.

The people who wanted Idaho voters to legalize medical marijuana gathered 559 qualified signatures after a year of trying.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Everyone knows Idaho is a red state.  In fact, it's one of the reddest in the country. But it hasn't always been that way. Twenty years ago, Idaho had a Democratic governor. More recently, Idaho had a Democrat in Congress.

Mike Simpson, Bryan Smith
Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Boise State Public Radio's news station, KBSX 91.5 FM, will air a series of four political debates leading up to the May 20 primary election.

Beginning May 12, we will broadcast top-tier debates produced by Idaho Public Television, and co-sponsored by the Idaho Press Club and the League of Women Voters.

Boise State Public Radio reporters Emilie Ritter Saunders and Adam Cotterell are panelists on two of the debates we will broadcast.

Here is the schedule:

election day, voting
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters will soon be inundated with campaign ads and sound bites from political candidates who proclaim to know exactly what Idahoans want. But it's unclear how voters are feeling heading into the May 20 primary election, thanks to a lack of public opinion polling. Without such polling, it's tough to tell if politicians' rhetoric matches the electorate's viewpoint.

Pages