The chairwoman of the House Education Committee will not launch a write-in campaign to remain in the Legislature, after her upset loss in the May 15 GOP primary.
“It was an option and we looked at it,” said Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, after Wednesday’s meeting of the Legislature’s Public School Funding Formula Committee.
In the end, it came down to numbers.
After VanOrden was approached about running as a write-in, she weighed the prospects. She was told to count on 60 percent voter turnout in her Bingham County legislative district in November — which meant she would need at 7,500 votes to win. That seemed prohibitive, she said.
Julianne Young of Blackfoot unseated VanOrden in May. Young received 3,616 votes to VanOrden’s 3,062 votes — but that outcome came in a party primary, with far smaller turnout than a November election. VanOrden would also need to overcome the disadvantage of running as a write-in, as opposed to having her name on the ballot.
For now, VanOrden says she will serve out the rest of her term, which ends in December. Among other duties, VanOrden will continue her work on the funding formula committee, which expects to come up with recommendations by fall.
When lawmakers meet in early December, House Republican leaders will pick a new Education Committee chair.
Hear more: Melissa Davlin of Idaho Public Television’s “Idaho Reports” discusses a possible write-in campaign during last week’s edition of the “Extra Credit” podcast.