(UPDATED, 1:52 p.m., with legislative results.)
State Rep. Lawerence Denney rode a Republican wave to victory Tuesday night, capturing the open race for secretary of state.
With 80 percent of precincts reporting, the Midvale Republican had 57 percent of the vote to Boise Democratic state Rep. Holli Woodings’ 43 percent.
The race to succeed retiring 12-year incumbent was a spirited one. Woodings outspent Denney through the race, bolstered by nearly $200,000 in personal loans to her campaign. The winner of a divided four-way GOP primary, Denney also faced questions about his turbulent time as Idaho House speaker; House Republicans voted Denney out of the powerful leadership post two years ago.
The secretary of state is the state’s chief elections officer. The secretary of state also holds one of five seats on the Idaho Land Board — a panel that decides the fate of endowment lands that generate more than $30 million annually for public schools.
Denney has been a staunch advocate of pursuing a transfer of federal lands to state jurisdiction, claiming the move would generate more dollars for the K-12 endowment. Critics say the cost of managing these lands will exceed the proceeds from opening the land to logging or other purposes.
Republicans cruised to victories in other statewide races, as Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Treasurer Ron Crane and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden were easily re-elected. Republican Controller Brandon Woolf was unopposed. (Full results here.)
For Democrats, one source of solace could be legislative elections. Democrats were poised to gain one seat in the House, which would narrow the GOP’s supermajority to 56-14.
Paulette Jordan defeated Rep. Cindy Agidius, R-Moscow and Dan Rudolph ousted Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, by a 26-vote margin. Those gains were offset by another House race in Latah County, as Republican Caroline Troy won the race to succeed Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, who lost in the 1st Congressional District race to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador.
The state Senate was poised to remain 28-7 in Republicans’ favor.
Two other House Republicans — Reps. Lynn Luker of Boise and Steve Miller of Fairfield — eked out narrow wins after trailing for parts of Election Night.
School finance elections
Wendell: Two proposals, a 10-year plant facilities levy and a $1.5 million bond issue both fell short of the two-thirds majority required for passage. (Details from The Times-News.)
Notus: Voters again rejected a bond issue to replace an elementary school built in 1926. The $4.8 million proposal received 61.4 percent support, falling short of the two-thirds mark. (Details from The Associated Press.)
Bonneville: Voters passed a two-year, $6 million supplemental levy, with 63.8 percent support. Levies require a simple majority to pass.