Idaho 2018 Primary Election Results
by Shari Dovale
Large turnouts at the polls in Idaho caused upsets in many races throughout the state on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. In Bonner county, Primary elections bring out about 33% of registered voters, however, this election turned out an estimated 46% of registered voters.
Hot topics for the people of Bonner county included the Scotchman’s Peak issue. The County Commissioner race was highly watched due to the candidate’s views on the Newport Smelter issue.
The Governor’s race as well as the Congressional race in the First District seemed to be the most watched throughout the state.
The US Congressional seat in District 1, vacated by Raul Labrador, had Russ Fulcher with a resounding victory in the Republican race. He will be the front-runner against Democrat Cristina McNeil in November’s General election.
For the Governor’s position, Republican Lt. Governor Brad Little will be challenged by Democrat Paulette Jordan, who won over longtime Democrat candidate AJ Balukoff in the primary.
The state’s Lt. Governor position will have it’s first ever female with Democrat Kristin Collum opposing Republican Janice McGeachin.
In a highly watched race, seven-term Representative Tom Loertscher lost his primary bid to newcomer Chad Christensen. Loertscher was the Chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, and was known for his strong stance in favor of an Article V convention. Loertscher had come under fire recently for the multiple bills that never made it through his committee and onto the House floor. Christensen does not have a Democrat challenger in the November general election.
In the District 24 Senate race, Lee Heider retained his seat from the challenge of newcomer Jay S Waters III. As Senate Health & Welfare Chairman, Heider was recently in the headlines for an improper closed-door meeting he held over House-passed HB 577, to legalize marijuana-derived CBD oil in Idaho.
Other unexpected results include incumbents Karey Hanks (35B) and Ron Nate (34A) who both lost their bids for reelection.
The referendum concerning a Wilderness Designation for Scotchman’s Peak in Bonner County brought out more voters, with the total vote bringing about 10,500 voters to weigh in.
Senator Jim Risch originally introduced legislation in December 2016 to designate nearly 13,960-acres in Idaho as wilderness. However, with backlash from citizens, the Bonner County Commissioners place the non-binding question on the ballot. Senator Risch has promised to abide by the county vote, however it turned out.
The vote showed a majority against the wilderness designation, and Senator Risch issued the following statement:
Risch Statement on Scotchman Peaks Vote
May 16, 2018
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) issued the following statement about the Bonner County community’s vote against designating Scotchman Peaks wilderness:
“When Bonner County residents went to the polls yesterday, they had the opportunity to decide whether or not nearly 13,960-acres in Idaho should be designated as the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness area. Definitively, the community rejected this proposal. In a recent editorial, I wrote that I would honor the outcome of this election, regardless of the decision, and I intend to do so. I will not reintroduce the Scotchman Peaks legislation. I thank those who have been involved in educating the community on the proposal, and I applaud the Bonner County Commissioners for bringing the proposal to me and allowing Idahoans to voice their opinion on this important issue.”
The final canvass for Bonner County will be held Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 1pm in the Commissioner’s meeting room. This is when the vote will be certified.
You can view the totals for Bonner County here: Preliminary Final Canvass Results
You can view the preliminary state results here: Unofficial 2018 Primary Election Results
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