Filing time - which starts on Monday - at Ada County is abruptly looking more interesting.
The most thorough rundown seems to be in the last couple of posts from Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman - on legislative announcements generally and David Langhorst's run for county office - and we'll refer you there for a fuller cheat sheet. Here, just a couple of thoughts.
When Langhorst, now the Democratic senator from District 16 (NW Boise, Garden City, nearby), first ran for the job, he was a decided underdog in a district that had been steadily going Republican for state Senate for quite a while. He's turned that seat into safe, for himself at least, and the district now elects three Democrats - it was majority Republican pre-Langhorst. There have been changes in the district since he first won, but some of it probably had to do with his personal attibutes. 16 will be going through a transition this year, and it'll be worth watching to see if the Democrats are able to hold it or if Republicans succeed in what we assume will be a serious pushback.
He will be running for the Ada County Commission, currently 2-1 Republican. Reichert accurately charts the difficulty via historic record: "However, the odds don't favor a Democrat winning a countywide election. Paul Woods won a commissioner's race in 2006 - but with 43 percent backing in a narrow three-way race. A decade earlier, Frank Walker squeaked out a victory over lightning-rod GOP incumbent Gary Glenn. More than 113,000 residents voted in the race; Walker prevailed by 77 votes." Boise city (where 16 mostly is) is now majority Democratic, but there's scant evidence Ada County as a whole is.
Langhorst has a high ambition here. If he wins, he will be a game-changer, throwing Ada County into an overall much more c0mpetitive category. Not only that: If the county is perceived generally as competitive, that could make some of the so-far colidly Republican seats in the western county more competitive over time. Langhorst's will be a race to watch seriously.
The other item of interest is the seeming shift in the contest for the House seat now held by Republican Mike Moyle, identified as a leader of the anti-tax rural Republicans. There had been a lot of talk that former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill might take him on. That possibility seemingly remains, but now an alternative scenario is developing - that Chuck Winder, who has run for governor and mayor of Boise, might take on Moyle instead, with Merrill trying for the other House seat. That could be an equally interesting race, with a battle for the soul of the southwest Idaho Republican Party at stake.
And some other interesting tidbits. Fun times, these filing weeks.