Idaho Primary

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday’s primary election in Idaho saw seven incumbent lawmakers lose their positions in the Legislature. It also whittled down the candidates vying for a seat on Idaho’s Supreme Court.

Many match-ups featured moderate Republicans against candidates from the far right wing of the party.

Reporter Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review writes the “Eye on Boise” blog and was among those watching the election closely.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Senate Chambers Keough
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Supreme Court hopefuls are facing a runoff election with vote counting early Wednesday showing none of the top candidates having won more than 50 percent in Tuesday's primary.

Robyn Brody, an attorney from Rupert, and Curt McKenzie, a seven-term Republican state senator, were the top vote getters and are headed for a runoff in the November general election.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday is primary day for a number of legislative races in Idaho. There are some important face-offs to watch – ones that could influence the direction of Idaho’s conservative majority. Some incumbent Republicans are being challenged by more conservative politicians, creating division among the GOP.

The one big statewide race is for the supreme court. Four candidates are vying for this position, which is nonpartisan.

Boise State Public Radio

Voters have until the end of the day Friday to change their party registration with their county clerk. After that, they’re stuck with that party when the state primary rolls around on May 17.

Voters who took part in Tuesday's GOP Presidential Primary could decide at the polls to become a Republican. But that’s not how it works for this spring's state primary. Voters have to choose now whether to list themselves as Republican, Democrat or anything else.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

“My name is Russ Fulcher and I’m running for governor.”

Those words from Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, Saturday morning kicked off what promises to be a fierce battle for Idaho’s top executive position over the next five months.

The five-term senator will challenge fellow Republican and two-term incumbent Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May primary.  Dozens of supporters attended the event held in a Meridian hotel conference room. 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Election officials expected low voter turnout on Tuesday. That's due in part to all the changes surrounding this year’s primaries.  That turned out to be true in Idaho's most populous county. Phil McGrane says voter turnout in Ada County was extremely low. “It was 16.74%.”

The Chief Deputy for the Ada County Clerk says that’s lower than normal. “For the past three primaries, in 2010, 2008, and 2006, it’s been just above 21%.”

It appears North Idaho lawmaker Phil Hart (R-Hayden) has lost his four-way primary battle in District Two.  With all precincts reporting, Hart trails by 238 votes.  Hart has gained notoriety for his ongoing battles with the IRS and Idaho State Tax Commission. At one point Hart stopped paying income tax saying it was unconstitutional and, though he says he pays now, he reportedly owes the state more than 50 thousand dollars and the federal government more than half a million. Two years ago, Hart won re-election with 75-percent of the vote.

BSU Professor Analyzes Primary Results

May 16, 2012
Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Idaho voters encountered some big changes at the polls in Tuesday's primaries.  KBSX Morning Edition Host Scott Graf spoke with Boise State University Political Scientist Gary Moncrief about the changes, low turnout, the future of Idaho's closed primaries, and more.  Click 'Listen' to hear their conversation.

Big Dubya / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is now one of more than 30 states that has a closed or semi closed primary. For the first time Tuesday voters must declare a party affiliation before casting a ballot. That presents an ethical dilemma for some people who want to remain non-partisan including journalists.