No Surprises Expected in Idaho Primaries Today

Posted May 23, 2008 at 5:33pm

Voters in Idaho will head to the polls today to settle on the Democratic and Republican nominees for the November Congressional elections.

Few surprises are expected, if any. The presidential primaries occurred earlier this year.

In the Republican Senate primary, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is the clear favorite in a crowded field that is seven deep. Also running are teacher Fred Adams, machinist Brian Hefner, civil engineer Bill Hunter, business consultant Richard Phenneger, Army Reservist Scott Syme and McCall-Donnelly School District Trustee Neal Thompson.

Idaho has been solid GOP territory for the past dozen years, so it’s no surprise that several Republicans decided to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Larry Craig (R), who is retiring.

Former Rep. Larry LaRocco faces minimal opposition in the Democratic Senate primary from David Archuleta.

Risch and LaRocco ran against each other in the race for lieutenant governor in 2006; the Republican, who was then serving as acting governor, prevailed by 19 points.

In the 1st district, freshman Rep. Bill Sali is facing nominal opposition in the GOP primary from Iraq War veteran Matt Salisbury. Sali closed the pre-primary fundraising period with $157,700 in cash on hand, compared with just $3,500 for Salisbury.

In the 1st district Democratic primary, 1996 Senate candidate Walt Minnick is running unopposed, with 2006 nominee Larry Grant dropping out of the race earlier this year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee believes Minnick could upset Sali in the general election despite the strong GOP lean of the district.

Sali barely squeaked through the primary and general election in 2006.

In the GOP-leaning 2nd district, Rep. Mike Simpson should cruise to a victory in the Republican primary over Army veteran Jack Wayne Chappell and businessman Greg Nemitz. Running in the Democratic primary are realtor Debbie Holmes and 2002 Senate candidate David Sneddon.