Most had been expecting the former Ada County Highway District commissioner and candidate for Boise mayor, to challenge House Majority Leader Mike Moyle for his seat. But it seems the task of taking on one of the state's top political leaders in a primary race was a little too daunting.
"Everyone told me it was going to be very difficult [to get support] during a primary against a majority leader in the House," Winder told BW. "[They felt I was] better suited for the Senate and had a better chance to win there. It gives me a platform to advance the issues that are important to our district and our community."
The Boise Republican's decision sets up a four-way race in the primary between Winder, Bastian, Saundra McDavid (a former candidate for Eagle mayor) and Henry Kulczyk, a former state lawmaker who is a frequent pundit for Idaho Public Television.
"[Bastian] was a weaker candidate that didn't represent the district as well as people thought he should," Winder said.
Moyle, who is now uncontested in the primary race, declined to comment on Winder's decision, other than to say that he liked Winder.
The District 14 race has changed drastically from what was originally predicted (BW, News, "Game Time," March 5, 2008), especially with former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill's announcement that she would not seek office this year. Merrill was widely expected to challenge Eagle Republican Rep. Raul Labrador for his seat.
Labrador is now running unopposed, while Moyle will face one of three Democrats in the November general election, Gulda Bothwell, Michelle Waddell or Ed Wardwell.
Several other races have evolved into major primary battles, including the one for Boise Democrat Sen. David Langhorst's District 16 seat. Republicans Christ Troupis and Dennis Warren will face off for the chance to challenge Boise Democrat Rep. Les Bock in the general election.
Candidates jumped at the chance to take over Bock's open House seat, with Democrat Elfreda Higgins and Republicans Elizabeth Allen Hodge, Cody Hodges, Ormond Howell, David Taylor and Ralph Perez vying for the seat.