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ID: Challenges coming up short

The new closed primary in Idaho seems to have had one of the effects a lot of people expected: Turnout is down. People professional expected to be neutral, like journalists and judges, are voting in smaller numbers. And a lot of other people, disgusted at having to declare a party identification, took a pass too.

But one of the other anticipated effects – the idea that relatively extreme challengers would be knocking out lots of Idaho legislators – seems not to be materializing.

Look up in District 1, the first north Panhandle district, where all three Republican legislators – Senator Shawn Keough and Representatives Eric Anderson and George Eskridge – were challenged from, probably you could say, the right. (A local Tea Party leader, Pam Stout, who had some national visibility, opposed Eskridge.) The challenges were energetic and well-publicized. All three incumbents seem to be surviving their challenges with strong votes.

Just south of them, Republican Representative Shannon McMillan was challenged by two primary opponents, one of them a former candidate for governor and senator – Rex Rammell. As this is written, she’s at 54.4% of the total vote, well over as many as the other two combined.

A challenge to House Republican Caucus Chair Ken Roberts – one underwritten in part by fellow House Republican leaders – seems to have fallen well short.

A challenge from the libertarian-oriented Maurice Clements to Senator Patti Anne Lodge went nowhere; she won in a landslide.

And so it went around the state.

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