Most lawmakers hold off primary challenges

With a few notable exceptions, legislative incumbents finished strong in primary races Tuesday.

Four of the five House Education Committee members facing primary challengers won. Only Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, lost to his primary opponent. Final, unofficial election results showed Christy Zito defeating Wills 55 percent to 45 percent.

Gayann DeMordaunt
Gayann DeMordaunt

In Ada County’s District 14, Gayann DeMordaunt defeated GOP primary challenger Doug Jones in the race for an open House seat. The seat is held by DeMordaunt’s husband, House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt — who did not run for re-election. Based on unofficial results from all Ada County precincts, DeMordaunt earned 70 percent of the vote.

Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee co-chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome won comfortably in her District 25 race against challenger Reggy Sternes. Bell claimed 69 percent of the ballots cast in the Republican primary to Sternes’ 31 percent.

In North Idaho’s Boundary and Bonner counties, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, defeated GOP challenger Glenn Rohrer, 56 percent to 44 percent.

Elsewhere, other incumbents held off challengers:

  • Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, defeated Doug Ricks 52 percent to 48 percent, with all Bonneville and Madison County precincts reporting. Nate is defending House Seat A in District 34.
  • Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, defeated Randy Neal 68 percent to 32 percent in the District 30 House Seat B primary. All 51 Bonneville County precincts reported.
  • Sen. Lori Den Hartog captured 70 percent of the vote in a three-person District 22 race. Den Hartog, a member of the Senate Education Committee, defeated challengers Charles Pratt Porter and Robert “Ernie” Terrell with all Ada County precincts reporting.
  • Rep. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, survived a primary challenge, receiving 58 percent of the vote in the District 15 House Seat B race. With all 145 Ada County precincts reporting, McDonald defeated former Sen. Rod Beck. McDonald is a member of the House Education Committee.
  • Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, defeated Arthur Macomber 58 percent to 42 percent in District 4 House Seat A. Malek is a member of JFAC.
  • Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, defeated Jake Stephens, 65 percent to 35 percent. Kerby is a member of House Education and a former school superintendent.
  • Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, defeated Michael Dolton, 59 percent to 41 percent. Boyle is a member of House Education.

Unofficial results show seven Republican lawmakers losing to challengers.

  • Paul Amador defeated Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, in District 4 House Seat B.
  • Carl G. Crabtree defeated Sen. Sheryl L. Nuxoll 51 percent to 49 percent in the District 7 Senate primary. Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, is a member of JFAC.
  • Zito defeated Wills in District 23 House Seat A.
  • Priscilla Giddings defeated Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, in District 7 House Seat A.
  • Dorothy Moon defeated Rep. Merrill Beyeler, R-Leadore, by almost 1,300 votes in District 8 House Seat B.
  • Megan C. Blanksma defeated Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, in District 23 House Seat B.
  • Karey Hanks led Rep. Paul Romrell, R-St. Anthony, in District 35 House Seat B.

This year, all 105 legislators’ seats expire, although 30 of the state’s 105 lawmakers did not face opposition Tuesday or will have an opponent in the Nov. 8 general election. Check EdNews’ live results page for final numbers.

Meanwhile, the shakeup in the West Ada School District continued as patrons voted to oust two school trustees in a recall election. Elsewhere, voters in several districts also decided on supplemental levies and bond issues.

Further reading: Our election preview coverage is available here.