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Stories about Idaho

All candidates for Idaho House of Representatives District 14B complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Idaho House of Representatives District 14B — Shelley Brock (D) and Josh Tanner (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Idaho’s state legislature. Idaho is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Brock:

“I’ve been a leading voice for the protection of Idahoans and their property from the negative impacts of irresponsible oil and gas drilling and other polluting industries that have been allowed by our lawmakers to operate too close to our homes, schools and rivers. I’m for free enterprise. I’m for development.” 

Tanner:

“Having grown up in Idaho, I realize the challenges that Idaho’s growth has had on our State and our infrastructure. I see the pain that our cities, counties and districts are experiencing in our struggle to manage this substantial growth. As Chairman of the Eagle Fire District, I have been successful in implementing Impact Fees so that new growth covers its own cost. I believe in managing this exponential growth in a way that pays for itself.” 

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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All candidates for Idaho House of Representatives District 14A complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Idaho House of Representatives District 14A — Crystal Ivie (D) and Ted Hill (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Idaho’s state legislature. Idaho is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Ivie:

“I am most passionate about access to high-quality education for all people. This starts in a well-funded pre-K program, all-day kindergarten, and extends into education through high school graduation. Education that offers children their most strong chance at success differs from child to child. We must rely on experts in childhood education to offer their students the opportunities to succeed.”

Hill:

“Defending the Constitution is paramount and is the struggle of our age. We must fight for our fundamental rights and our freedoms. Government overreach must stop. No more mandates. We must resist the insanity of the cultural revolution underway in our country. It is divisive and toxic to our unity. Unity is our strength. It is a fight for the soul of America.” 

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



Idaho voters will decide on an initiative to increase the state’s income and corporate tax rates for education funding in November

On July 22, the Idaho secretary of state announced that an initiative that would increase income tax and corporate tax rates to provide additional education funding had submitted the required number of signatures for the November ballot. 

Reclaim Idaho, the campaign behind the initiative, filed 95,269 signatures on May 2. In Idaho, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is 64,945, which is equal to 6% of the registered voters at the time of the state’s last general election. Idaho also has a distribution requirement that requires signatures from 6% of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. The secretary of state reported that Reclaim Idaho’s petition met the requirements in at least 19 legislative districts.

The initiative would amend state statute to increase the tax on income above $250,000 for individuals, trusts, and estates and above $500,000 for couples filing jointly to $16,097 plus 10.925%. The tax bracket would not be adjusted for inflation until 2025. The initiative would also increase the corporate income tax from 6% to 8%. The new tax brackets and tax rates would take effect on January 1, 2023.

The initiative would also establish the Quality Education Fund. Revenues from the increased taxes would be deposited into the fund. The initiative states that the funds should be appropriated by the state board of education. It would prohibit funds from being appropriated to pay the salaries of superintendents, principals, or other administrators. The initiative requires that the funds be distributed to public school districts and charter schools according to their share of the state’s average daily attendance during the previous school year.

Reclaim Idaho said, “Idaho voters will now have a chance to boost K-12 funding by $323 million a year in order to strengthen programs & secure better pay for teachers & support staff–all without a penny of new taxes for anyone making under $250,000 a year or any married couple making under $500,000 a year. Vote Yes on Prop 1!”

Reclaim Idaho previously sponsored an approved 2018 ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The initiative is opposed by State Sen. Steven Thayn (R), who said the initiative is “based on a false assumption that money will improve education.”

Idaho voters will also be deciding on a constitutional amendment put on the ballot by the state legislature that would allow the president pro tempore of the state Senate and the speaker of the state House to convene a special session of the state legislature upon receiving a joint written request from 60% of the members of each chamber. Idaho is one of 14 states where only the governor can order a special session.

In Idaho, a total of 65 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-eight (73.84%) ballot measures were approved, and 17 (26.15%) ballot measures were defeated.

Additional reading:

Idaho 2022 ballot measures



McGrane wins May 17 Republican Party primary for Idaho Secretary of State

Phil McGrane defeated Dorothy Moon and Mary Souza in the May 17 Republican Party primary for Idaho Secretary of State. Incumbent Lawerence Denney(R), who was first elected in 2014, did not file for re-election.

McGrane is the Ada County Clerk, a position to which he was first elected in 2018. On his campaign website, McGrane said, “It is now more important than ever to protect Idaho’s elections from the influence of D.C. and beyond. Since 2005, I have been involved with almost every aspect of Idaho elections; from counting ballots to training counties. I know our election system from the inside out and will bring my experience as your next Republican Secretary of State.”

Moon has represented District 8B in the Idaho House of Representatives since 2016. In an interview with Idaho Dispatch, Moon said she was running for secretary of state because “I knew that if we do not have fair elections in this state, we’re done—the entire country is done. We’ll lose our republic. To me this is the biggest issue we’re dealing with as Idaho, and as the country. On her campaign website, Moon said: “I believe my legislative work, education career, business acumen and life experiences have uniquely qualified me to serve Idaho as your next Secretary of State. And no one can question my commitment to conservative principles.” She listed her top issues as election integrity, business services, and endowment lands.

Souza is a member of the Idaho State Senate since 2014, representing District 4. She said: “In the wake of last year’s tumultuous election, it’s clear that to preserve voters’ faith and trust in our democratic process, we must safeguard election integrity. That goal will be my lodestar as Idaho’s Secretary of State.” On her campaign website, she listed three issues: Securing our Elections, Serving Future Generations, and Supporting our Economy.

The Idaho Secretary of State is responsible for running the state’s elections, licensing businesses, trademarks, notaries and other professions and various other duties involving the maintenance and publication of official documents. Republicans have held Idaho’s secretary of state office since 1967.

Idaho is one of 27 states holding secretary of state elections in 2022.



Little wins Republican primary for governor of Idaho

Incumbent Gov. Brad Little defeated seven other candidates in the Republican primary for governor of Idaho on May 17, 2022. With over 95% of precincts reporting, Little had received 53% of the vote to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s 32%.

According to the Idaho Press‘s Betsy Russell, an incumbent Idaho governor had not been challenged in a primary by the lieutenant governor since 1938. Idaho is one of 17 states where the lieutenant governor is nominated in a separate primary and elected in a separate general election from the governor.

Steven Bradshaw, Ben Cannady, Ed Humphreys, Ashley Jackson, Lisa Marie, and Cody Usabel also ran in the primary.

Little ran on his record, saying that his first term was “marked by historic tax relief, unparalleled red tape reduction, extraordinary economic growth, and unprecedented investments in education.” He said, “During my first term, together, we achieved billions in historic tax relief, record investments in transportation, and continued our strong support for education in Idaho.”

McGeachin said she ran for governor “to restore the principles that have Made Idaho Great — individual liberty, state sovereignty, and traditional conservative values.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed McGeachin in November 2021. McGeachin said, “My campaign has been endorsed by President Trump because I stand for America First policies including individual liberty, election integrity, a strong and secure border, school choice, energy independence, reducing taxes and regulations, and supporting American businesses.”

Major independent observers rate the general election as Solid or Safe Republican. Republicans have had trifecta control of Idaho state government since 1995.



Idaho Republican gubernatorial primary includes sitting governor and lieutenant governor for first time since 1938

Eight candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Idaho on May 17. Incumbent Gov. Brad Little and Janice McGeachin, the state’s current lieutenant governor, lead in fundraising and media attention.

Idaho is one of 17 states where the lieutenant governor is nominated in a separate primary and elected in a separate general election from the governor. According to the Idaho Press‘s Betsy Russell, an incumbent Idaho governor has not been challenged in a primary by the lieutenant governor since 1938. 

The Idaho Statesman’s Ryan Suppe said of Little and McGeachin, “The two former allies … have had a tense relationship in recent years.” Much of that tension has revolved around responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In two instances in 2021, McGeachin issued executive orders related to COVID-19 measures—the first, while Little was at a Republican Governors Association meeting, banning mask mandates, and the second, while Little was at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding a prohibition against state entities requiring vaccination or testing. Little rescinded both orders the following day.

The Idaho Constitution says that if the governor is absent from the state, the duties of the office transfer to the lieutenant governor. McGeachin and Little disagreed on whether the Idaho Constitution transfers the duties of the governor’s office to the lieutenant governor in the event of the governor’s physical absence or effective absence.

Little is running on his record, saying that his first term was “marked by historic tax relief, unparalleled red tape reduction, extraordinary economic growth, and unprecedented investments in education.” He said, “During my first term, together, we achieved billions in historic tax relief, record investments in transportation, and continued our strong support for education in Idaho.” Little said, “I am committed to continuing to lead Idaho with my goal for Idaho in mind to make Idaho the place where we all can have the opportunity to thrive, where our children and grandchildren choose to stay, and for the ones who have left to choose to return.” The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund and the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Little.

McGeachin said she is “running for Governor to restore the principles that have Made Idaho Great — individual liberty, state sovereignty, and traditional conservative values.” She said she is a “proven conservative leader with an established track record of working with others to promote fiscal responsibility.” McGeachin said, “My campaign has been endorsed by President Trump because I stand for America First policies including individual liberty, election integrity, a strong and secure border, school choice, energy independence, reducing taxes and regulations, and supporting American businesses.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed McGeachin in Nov. 2021.

Also running in the primary are Steven Bradshaw, Ben Cannady, Ed Humphreys, Ashley Jackson, Lisa Marie, and Cody Usabel. 

Major independent observers rate the general election as Solid/Safe Republican. Republicans have had trifecta control of Idaho state government since 1995. The last time a Democrat was elected to statewide office in Idaho was for superintendent of public instruction in 2002.



Campaign to place an income tax for education funding on Idaho ballot submits signatures

On May 2, Reclaim Idaho, the campaign behind an initiative to increase the income tax rate for individuals with incomes above $250,000 and increase the corporate income tax rate, submitted over 95,269 signatures for verification. The required number of signatures is 64,945, which is equal to 6% of the registered voters at the state’s last general election. Idaho also has a distribution requirement that requires signatures equal to at least 6% of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts to be included in petitions. Reclaim Idaho said it had met the distribution requirement in 20 legislative districts.

The initiative, referred to as the “The Quality Education Act” by the campaign, would increase the state income tax for individuals, trusts, and estates with incomes above $250,000 to $16,097 plus 10.925%. This is up from the existing rate of 6.5%. The initiative would require that the new tax income bracket be changed annually by an adjustment factor equal to the consumer price index for the calendar year of 2024 divided by the consumer price index for the calendar year preceding. The new tax brackets and tax rates would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The tax bracket would not be adjusted for inflation until 2025.

The initiative would also increase the corporate income tax from 6.5% to 8%. According to the Tax Foundation, 44 states levy a corporate income tax ranging from 2.5% in North Carolina to 11.5% in New Jersey.

The initiative would also establish the Quality Education Fund. Revenues from the increased income tax would be deposited into the fund. The initiative states that the funds should be appropriated by the state board of education. It would prohibit funds from being appropriated to pay the salaries of superintendents, principals, or other administrators. It would also give the state board of education the power to promulgate rules to implement the initiative.

Reclaim Idaho attempted to place the initiative on the ballot in 2020 but announced it was suspending its campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign filed a lawsuit against the state, which refused to allow the campaign to use DocuSign to electronically collect signatures. In July 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state ordering an emergency stay on a lower court’s order that authorized the campaign to collect signatures electronically.

The initiative has won the endorsement of the Idaho Education Association, which unanimously endorsed it at its meeting last month. Luke Mayville, a co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, said, “Most people do not view education as political. They understand that quality education relies on government, and therefore relies on politicians to do their jobs and fund public schools, but they don’t view funding for education as a controversial political topic. They view it as a no-brainer.” As of March 2022, the campaign has raised over $579,000 in contributions.

State Sen. Steven Thayn (R), who is the chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “I am not supportive. First of all, I think it’s based on a false assumption that money will improve education, and that is not necessarily the case. The No. 1 need in education is not more money.”

The statutory deadline to submit signatures was May 1, 2022, but the secretary of state allowed campaigns to submit signatures on May 2, since the official day fell on a Sunday.

Five other initiative campaigns were cleared for signature gathering, but Reclaim Idaho is the only campaign that has collected more than the required number of signatures. The other initiatives included medical marijuana legalization, recreational marijuana legalization, an increased minimum wage, changes to initiative signature requirements, and a referendum on signature distribution requirements.

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Three Idaho secretary of state candidates competing in May 17 Republican primary

Phil McGrane, Dorothy Moon, and Mary Souza are running in the May 17 Republican Party primary for Idaho Secretary of State. Incumbent Lawerence Denney (R), first elected in 2014, did not file for re-election.

McGrane is the Ada County Clerk, a position to which he was first elected in 2018. On his campaign website, McGrane said, “It is now more important than ever to protect Idaho’s elections from the influence of D.C. and beyond. Since 2005, I have been involved with almost every aspect of Idaho elections; from counting ballots to training counties. I know our election system from the inside out and will bring my experience as your next Republican Secretary of State.”

Moon has represented District 8B in the Idaho House of Representatives since 2016. In an interview, Moody said she was running for secretary of state because “I knew that if we do not have fair elections in this state, we’re done—the entire country is done. We’ll lose our republic. To me this is the biggest issue we’re dealing with as Idaho, and as the country. On her campaign website, Moon said: “I believe my legislative work, education career, business acumen and life experiences have uniquely qualified me to serve Idaho as your next Secretary of State. And no one can question my commitment to conservative principles.” She listed what she calls election integrity, business services, and endowment lands as key issues.

Souza has been a member of the Idaho State Senate since 2014, representing District 4. She said: “In the wake of last year’s tumultuous election, it’s clear that to preserve voters’ faith and trust in our democratic process, we must safeguard election integrity. That goal will be my lodestar as Idaho’s Secretary of State.” On her campaign website, she listed three issues: Securing our Elections, Serving Future Generations, and Supporting our Economy.

The Idaho Secretary of State is responsible for running the state’s elections, licensing businesses, trademarks, notaries and other professions and various other duties involving the maintenance and publication of official documents. Republicans have held Idaho’s secretary of state office since 1967.



Rate of state legislative incumbents facing primary challengers doubles in Idaho compared to recent years

More state legislative incumbents are facing primary challenges in Idaho this year than at any point since at least 2014. Seventy-five incumbents are seeking re-election this year, 61.3% of whom (46) are running in contested primaries. From 2014 to 2020, the percentage of incumbents in contested primaries hovered at around half that rate ranging from 32 to 34%.

Of those 46 incumbents in contested primaries, 45 are Republicans, and one—Rep. James Ruchti—is a Democrat.

Redistricting is a partial cause of this increase. When states redraw district lines, they can change so that incumbents who previously represented one district now live within the district lines of another. This can result in incumbents challenging other incumbents in contested primaries or general elections if they choose to seek re-election. 

There are four such incumbent vs. incumbent primaries this year:

  • House District 9B: Rep. Scott Syme (R), first elected to District 11A in 2016, will face Rep. Judy Boyle (R), first elected in 2008.
  • House District 22A: Rep. Greg Ferch (R), first elected to District 21B in 2020, will face Rep. John Vander Woude (R), first elected in 2010.
  • Senate District 9: Sen. Jim Rice (R), first elected to District 8 in 2012, will face Sen. Abby Lee (R), first elected in 2014. Two other candidates are running in this primary.
  • Senate District 14: Sen. Steven Thayn (R), first elected to District 8 in 2012, will face Sen. C. Scott Grow (R), first appointed in 2018. One other candidate is running in this primary.

For the purposes of our analysis, all eight of these incumbents are considered incumbents in contested primaries.

Looking beyond incumbents in contested primaries, the total number of primaries also increased this year to its highest level compared to previous cycles, driven entirely by an increase in Republican contests.

These figures come from Ballotpedia’s analysis of post-filing deadline competitiveness statistics. The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Idaho this year was March 11. Candidates filed to run for the state’s 35 Senate and 70 House seats.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • Of the 105 seats up for election, 32.3% are open, meaning no incumbent is in the running. This is the largest percentage of open seats since at least 2014. Newcomers are guaranteed to win these open seats, meaning at least one-third of the Idaho Legislature will be new to their seats in the 2023 legislative session.
  • Of the 105 seats up for election, 32.3% are open, meaning no incumbent is in the running. This is the largest percentage of open seats since at least 2014. Newcomers are guaranteed to win these open seats, meaning at least one-third of the Idaho Legislature will be new to their seats in the 2023 legislative session.
  • Of the 105 seats up for election, 32.3% are open, meaning no incumbent is in the running. This is the largest percentage of open seats since at least 2014. Newcomers are guaranteed to win these open seats, meaning at least one-third of the Idaho Legislature will be new to their seats in the 2023 legislative session.

Republicans currently hold a 28-7 majority in the state Senate and a 58-12 majority in the state House. With a Republican governor, Idaho is one of 23 Republican trifectas.

Idaho’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for May 17, making them the sixth in the nation.

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In Idaho’s two congressional districts, there is one contested primary this year

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Idaho was March 11, 2022. This year, nine candidates—two Democrats, six Republicans, and one Libertarian—are running for Idaho’s two U.S. House districts. That’s 4.5 candidates per district, less than the 5.0 candidates per district in 2020 and 9.0 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • Both incumbents are running for re-election: Russ Fulcher in District 1 and Michael Simpson in District 2.
  • The only contested primary is the Republican primary in District 2, where Simpson faces four other candidates. One of those candidates is Bryan Smith, who Simpson defeated 62-38 in the 2014 Republican primary.
  • According to Roll Call, Republicans have won 27 of the 28 U.S. House elections in Idaho since 1994. Walt Minnick won in District 1 in 2008 before losing his re-election bid in 2010.

Idaho’s U.S. House primaries will take place on May 17, 2022. Also on the ballot will be a U.S. Senate seat, governor, lt. governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and all 105 seats in the state legislature.

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