Over the coming weeks, GOP and Democratic party leaders—but Republicans in particular—will do their best to convince the public that the things they've been saying about people in their own parties weren't really all that serious. After several weeks of some nasty name calling, specifically in the GOP primary races for Idaho governor, secretary of state and Idaho's Second Congressional District, the smoke cleared early this morning with the results showing that many of the incumbents weathered the storm.
Rep. Mike Simpson easily defeated challenger Bryan Smith after significant out-of-state donations toward Smith's campaign began to dry up in the final weeks.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter beat state Sen. Russ Fulcher by more than 11,000 votes and is poised to face off with Democrat A.J. Balukoff, who handily won his primary contest against Terry Kerr.
One of the closest-watched contests of the evening was the GOP race for secretary of state. And in spite of Phil McGrane's candidacy being endorsed by a strong contingent of Republican mainstays, including incumbent SOS Ben Ysursa, Rep. Lawerence Denney emerged victorious. Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanksi each pulled in more than 20,000 votes, which played a significant factor in the outcome.
Incumbent Idaho Controller Brandon Woolf fought off a tight contest from challenger Todd Hartfield. Wolf garnered less than 51 percent of the vote.
A relative political newcomer Sherri Ybarra, a school administrator from the Mountain Home School District, led a pack of four GOP candidates for superintendent of public instruction. Ybarra will have a tough race come November against Democratic nominee Dr. Jana Jones, who has an extensive resume of Idaho state education management, including serving as chief deputy superintendent of public instruction.
In other Idaho races, Rep. Raul Labrador pushed back no less than four candidates to take the GOP primary. He'll face Democratic challenger Shirley Ringo, who also won Tuesday night.
Lt. Gov. Bad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Sen. Jim Risch all also skated to easy GOP victories.