Most Idaho lawmakers seek reelection, but face challengers along the way

by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports

Amid a handful of retirements and a few campaigns for executive branch, most sitting Idaho lawmakers are running for reelection.

Of Idaho’s 58 GOP House members, 39 are running to keep their seat, while eight have their eyes on the Senate. Of those representatives not seeking reelection, eight chose to retire and three are running for the executive branch.

Across the rotunda, 22 of 28 Senate Republicans are running to keep their seat, while one is campaigning for an executive branch post, and five chose to retire.

Nine of the House’s 12 Democratic members hope to keep their seat while one is running for Senate and two chose to retire. In the Senate, four Democrats are running for reelection, while three retired.

With just 18 choosing to retire voluntarily at the end of their current term, most sitting lawmakers are running for public office again.

That doesn’t mean their positions in the legislature are guaranteed, however. For many Republican lawmakers, May 17 marks a heated primary battle.

In some districts, the races are a traditional contest between an incumbent and a challenger. Due to newly drawn legislative maps, however, some races have incumbents facing off head-to-head (and against other challengers) to keep their post. Other districts have open seats with multiple new candidates and no incumbent.

(Note: Sitting House members running for the Senate are considered new candidates and not incumbents in this analysis.)

Winners of each primary election become their party’s nominee for the November election.

A number of legislative candidates – incumbents and newcomers alike – face no primary challenge, which means they automatically win the party nomination for the November general election. That’s the case in all of the Democratic primary races for the legislature, while Republican races have considerably more competition.

Of 39 House GOP incumbents, 25 have contested primaries, alongside 84 new candidates. Of 22 Senate GOP incumbents, 20 members face primary races with 43 new candidates.

In the House GOP races, 14 incumbents and 11 new candidates are unchallenged. Among Senate Republicans, just two incumbents and seven new candidates face no challenger.

Watch for online coverage from Idaho Reports on election night for statewide and legislative results.

<strong>Logan Finney</strong> | Associate Producer
Logan Finney | Associate Producer

Logan Finney is a North Idaho native with a passion for media production and boring government meetings. He grew up skiing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Bonner County and has maintained a lifelong interest in the state’s geography, history and politics. Logan joined the Idaho Reports team in 2020 as a legislative session intern and stayed to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired as an associate producer in 2021 and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since. 

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