Not much of up for grabs, really, in the Idaho Legislature this year - certainly nothing resembling control of either chamber. The Democrats nearly ceded that by keeping blank their line for most of the 105 seats, all up for election, if little else, this year.
Of those contested with major party candidates, not a lot show serious signs of competitiveness. This cuts both ways: Republicans aren't seriously contesting a number of Democratic seats that could, logically, be at serious risk.
Here's a quick run-through of contests that have caught our attention, not many but a few looking closely competitive.
District 6 Senate. This ought to be, by a long shot, the Democrats' best chance for a legislative pickup, anywhere in the state. And they may get it. That happened because in the Republican primary Tea Party-oriented Gresham Bouma beat long-time moderate Senator Gary Schroeder, one of the last few moderates in the Senate and the kind of Republican this university district likes to elect. (House member Tom Trail, also a veteran in this district, is another.) Democrats were fortunate in having fielded a solid candidate, Dan Schmidt, a physician, a former county coroner and long active in civic affairs; he would have lost to Schroeder, but against Bouma his chances are good. According to the last finance reports on file, neither has a lot of money on hand. But then, money isn't likely to be decisive here.
District 14 House B. This is the House seat Republican congressional candidate Raul Labrador is leaving behind, and it shouldn't be competitive: This territory around Eagle has been a Republican lock for a long time. Still may be worth watching. Democrats are bullish about Steve Berch, who is running hard, is apparently well organized and has raised substantial enough money ($16,455, with $11,191 on hand as of June) to indicate serious effort. We've made the point repeatedly that if Idaho Democrats are to break through, they probably will have to do it first in the Boise suburbs, in places like this one. The Republican, Reed DeMordaunt, had to run through a tough primary and spend most of his funds. A longshot for a Democrat here, but the results will be worth revisiting. (more…)