Primary analysis: A bad night for incumbents

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Tuesday was a bad night for incumbents.

In the Idaho Legislature, 18 incumbents lost their Republican primary races, as did two House members who were attempting to move to the Senate.

That list includes four lawmakers who lost to fellow incumbents who ended up in the same district.

Of the three incumbents in statewide offices who had challenges, two – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra – lost their races, to Raul Labrador and Debbie Critchfield, respectively. Just one statewide incumbent, Gov. Brad Little, won his race. Idaho voters rarely oust statewide incumbents, and haven’t voted out two in the same cycle in at least several decades. 

There were no Democratic legislative primary races this year. 

No one section of the state was particularly worse for incumbents than the others, with challengers seeing victories in the north, central, west and eastern parts of the state. And while a handful of extremely conservative House members lost their races, including Reps. Ron Nate, Chad Christensen, Gayann Demordaunt, and Karey Hanks, other conservative challengers beat more moderate Republicans, like Reps. Paul Amador and Ryan Kerby. 

Committee consequences

Between the retirement of prominent lawmakers and defeat of multiple others, the Senate is going to be more conservative next year. Sens. Carl Crabtree, Jim Woodward, Jim Patrick, Peter Riggs, Jeff Agenbroad, and Fred Martin lost to challengers from the right. Robert Blair, the longtime substitute for Sen. Dan Johnson, also lost to former senator Dan Foreman.

No one in legislative leadership lost their primary races, though multiple committee chairs and vice chairs lost, including House Ways and Means chairman Amador, Senate Finance chairman Agenbroad, Senate Local Government and Taxation chairman Jim Rice, and Senate Education Committee chairman Steve Thayn. 

Half of the members of the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee are also out after Tuesday. Between retirements and primaries, the joint budget committee lost both of its co-chairs and vice chairs. Four senators and two representatives lost on Tuesday, and one senator and three representatives retired. (One other member, Sen. Steve Bair, stepped back late last year; His long-term replacement, Julie VanOrden, won her primary on Tuesday.)

Here’s the full list of legislative incumbents who lost. We’ll have more on this week’s Idaho Reports, as well as on Wednesday’s Idaho Reports Podcast and online throughout the rest of the day. Idaho Reports airs Friday nights at 8 pm on Idaho Public Television.

*=Incumbent vs incumbent

**= House member running for Senate

District 1 Senate

Jim Woodward  43.83%

Scott Herndon 56.17%

District 4 House Seat A

Jim Addis 47.79%

Joe Alfieri 52.21%

District 4 House Seat B

Paul Amador 48.6%

Elaine Price 51.4%

District 5 Senate

Peter Riggs 38%

Carl Bjerke 62%

District 6 Senate

Robert Blair 35.2%

Dan Foreman 43.1%

Jen Seegmiller 21.5%

District 7 Senate

Carl Crabtree 40.1%

Cindy Carlson 48.7%

Heather Rogers 5%

Keith Stuffle 6.1%

District 8 Senate**

Terry Gestrin 27.5%

Jon Krueger 25.7%

Gary Freeman 14.3%

Geoff Schroeder 32.3%

District 9 Senate*

Kayla Dunn 11.1%

Abby Lee 34.9%

Jim Rice 24.3%

Jordan Marques 29.6%

District 9 House A

Jacyn Gallagher 51.1%

Ryan Kerby 48.9%

District 9 House B*

Judy Boyle 50.03%

Scott Syme 49.9%

District 11 Senate**

Greg Chaney 46.2%

Chris Trakel 53.8%

District 13 Senate

Jeff Agenbroad 42.4%

Brian Lenney 57.6%

District 14 Senate*

C. Scott Grow 47.8%

Steve Thayn 40.3%

Katie Donahue 11.9%

District 14 House

Gayann Demordaunt 44.6%

Josh Tanner 55.4%

District 15 Senate

Codi Galloway 53.0%

Fred Martin 41.2%

Dorothy Greenzang 5.8%

District 22 House*

Greg Ferch 46.6%

John VanderWoude 53.4%

District 24 Senate

Jim Patrick 49.8%

Glenneda Zuiderveld 50.2%

District 31 House
Karey Hanks 44.9%

Jerald Raymond 55.1%

District 34 House

Ron Nate 49.7%

Britt Raybould 50.4%

District 35 House

Chad Christensen 48%

Josh Wheeler 52%

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