A mix of fresh and familiar: most legislative incumbents survived, but most of the party nominees are new

by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports

Most sitting Idaho legislators chose to seek reelection this year. They were joined by a large field of new candidates, with the majority of Republicans facing a contested legislative primary on Tuesday.

While a number of incumbents lost at the polls, Republican voters ultimately selected a mix of fresh and familiar names among their nominees for the legislature. Generally, incumbent senators fared worse at the ballot box than incumbent representatives.

Some districts saw fierce races between old foes. Some incumbents faced off head-to-head for a seat due to redistricting, and a few faced additional challengers. In other new districts, multiple candidates ran for open seats with no incumbent lawmaker.

Note: Former lawmakers and House members running for Senate are both categorized as new candidates in this analysis.

Of 29 House incumbents, 13 had no challenger, 17 won reelection, and 9 lost their primary. Of 22 Senate incumbents, 2 had no challenger, 11 won reelection, and 9 lost their primary.

Primary winners have earned their party’s nomination for the November general election ballot. The Idaho Legislature has 70 House seats and 35 Senate seats.

The Idaho Republican Party has selected a nominee for each seat in the legislature. Those include 30 incumbents and 40 new candidates running for the House, and 13 incumbents and 22 new candidates running for the Senate.

The Idaho Democratic Party has nominees for less than half of the seats in the legislature, with just 33 House candidates (9 incumbent and 24 new) and 13 Senate candidates (4 incumbent and 9 new). That guarantees continued GOP control of both chambers in 2023.

Look for more election coverage and analysis this week online from Idaho Reports, including on the Wednesday podcast and on the Friday show.


<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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