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The Idaho rundown

No great shockers in the final closeout of candidate filings in Idaho – which ended at 5 p.m. today.

The closest thing to actual news on the last filing day probably was the announcement from former 1st District U.S. Representative Bill Sali, who had not enturely ruled out running for another term, that he will not, and will instead endorse state Representative Raul Labrador for the position. As indicated, no big surprise there, but that endorsement does clarify a bit further which portions of the Republican Party that Labrador and front-runner Vaughn Ward are appealing to.

The other U.S. House seat, which had lacked for a Democratic candidate, has gotten one in the form of Mountain Home resident Mike Crawford. All three congressional seats do have at least one Democrat filed for the office.

And Republican incumbent Mike Simpson will face not just two but three challengers (which statistically should advantage Simpson). In the 1st District, Democrat Walt Minnick has no primary opposition, for all that he has irritated many of the party faithful.

There are 11 candidates for governor. That’s a lot.

There are no Democrats running for lieutenant governor, state treasurer or attorney general.

In Idaho’s 105 legislative seats . . .

Republican incumbents (there are now 80) are seeking re-election in 77 seats. (Senate 28 – all of the incumbents are seeking re-election, House 49 of 52). Incumbent legislators, Republicans especially, have had a strong track in Idaho in the last couple of decades.

Democratic incumbents (there are now 25) are seeking re-election in 18 seats. (Senate 5 – incumbents Kate Kelley and Clint Stennett are opting out, House 13 – incumbents George Saylor, Anne Pasley-Stuart, James Ruchti and Donna Boe are retiring, and Brandon Durst is running for the Senate). Put it this way: Republicans have more than four times as many legislative seats as Democrats do, but more than twice as many Democrats (in raw numbers) are not running for re-election. What does that suggest about Democratic gains in the legislature this year?

Republicans have filed for 102 of the 105 seats – they are conceding three seats (those held by John Rusche of Lewiston, Wendy Jaquet of Ketchum and Elaine Smith of Pocatello). Even by recent-cycle standards, that’s a strong showing.

Democrats have filed for 59 of the 105 seats – conceding 46 of them.

There are, we should note, procedures (such as primary election write-in) which could allow the parties to fill some of those vacancies. And likely some will be filled that way; it happens. But these numbers should give you a pretty good picture of how this election year is shaping up in Idaho.

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