UPDATED: The 2024 legislative field is set, and here’s what we learned today

It’s filings Friday — the final day for legislative candidates to turn in their campaign paperwork.

All 105 legislative seats will be on the ballot this year, in May party primaries and the November general election.

Here’s what we learned today, with some notable filings.

7:07 p.m.: Some big-picture items from the filing period:

  • Republicans fielded candidates for 99 of 105 seats in the Legislature. The GOP didn’t find candidates for five races in blue-leaning districts in Boise, and a swing district in Bannock County.
  • Democrats found candidates for 81 of the 105 legislative races. This is a huge increase. In 2022, Democrats ran candidates in just 45 legislative races — conceding majority control of the Legislature before the election even began.
  • Who’s unopposed in the primary and the general election? It’s a small group of three senators and six House members, three Republicans and six Democrats. The list: Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley; Sen. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello; Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise; Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise; Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise; Rep. Ted Hill, R-Eagle; Rep. James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian; Rep. Chris Mathias, D-Boise; Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise.

6:43 p.m.: The statewide candidate list is final; click here for the secretary of state’s elections page.

And we now know that another member of legislative leadership is not seeking re-election.

Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, the House’s assistant majority leader, will not seek a sixth term.

Previously, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Abby Lee and House Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea said they would not run again.

5:05 p.m.: Another former legislator is looking to return to the Statehouse.

Chad Christensen, a hardline conservative Republican from Ammon, filed Friday for a House seat in District 35, now held by Rep. Kevin Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs.

Christensen served four years in the House, before losing in the May 2022 GOP primary to current Rep, Josh Wheeler, also of Ammon.

Andrus is running for a fourth term.

The Republican nominee will face Soda Springs Democrat Joseph Messerly in November.

3:30 p.m.: The co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has a new GOP primary challenger — one likely to run a campaign from the right.

Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith filed Friday for a House seat in legislative District 32, for the spot now held by 12-year Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls.

Horman, a longtime member of JFAC, has played a pivotal role writing education budgets for several years.

Smith was named last year to the GOP’s national committee. He also serves as vice chair of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors. Smith has also twice run unsuccessfully for Congress, losing to Rep. Mike Simpson in the Republican primary.

Horman has filed for re-election. Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti is also running on the GOP ticket.

The GOP nominee will face Democrat Patricia Dustin Stanger in the general election.

2:33 p.m.: The chair of the House Education Committee filed for re-election — in what is now a three-person Republican primary.

Rep. Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell, filed paperwork for a third term in Idaho’s District 11. And it appears Yamamoto, a mainstream Republican, will face two opponents running to her right.

Nicole Hyland, a hardline conservative who ran unsuccessfully for Caldwell school board in 2023, filed for the House seat Friday. Caldwell Republican Kent Marmon has already filed in the race, and has raised money from at least two donors aligned with the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

No other candidate has filed in the race.

1:41 p.m.: One of the hardline conservatives on the Senate Education Committee filed for re-election.

Sen. Brian Lenney, R-Nampa, filed his paperwork for a second term, setting up a heated rematch in Canyon County’s legislative District 13. Former Sen. Jeff Agenbroad has already filed for the race.

Lenney unseated Agenbroad in the 2022 GOP primary.

Nampa Democrat Sarah Butler has also filed in the race.

10:55 a.m.: Another name from the past has filed for a legislative seat. Bob Nonini of Coeur d’Alene, a 14-year legislative veteran, will run for the House in District 5. But this time, the longtime Republican will run as an independent for a seat now held by Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, a House Education Committee member who is running for a seventh term.

Nonini served in the House from 2005 to 2012, climbing legislative ranks to chair the House Education Committee. He then moved to the Senate, where he served from 2013 to 2018. Nonini then ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, finishing fourth in a five-way GOP primary.

10:33 a.m.: A name from the past filed Thursday. Robert Blair, a Kendrick Republican, filed for a GOP primary race in legislative District 6. Blair was a substitute senator during the 2022 session, losing to current Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Viola. Foreman has already filed for re-election.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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