Idaho Election Night signals Republican majority and optimism for Democrats

The unofficial Idaho Election Results are still being sorted through, and as expected the Idaho Republican Party is holding onto its majority control across the state, but Idaho Democrats feel they made some progress this election cycle.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 9:36 PM MST
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****This story has been updated to reflect Jerome County elections staff encountering a series of discrepancies between the cast ballot counts printed on the reports produced by the central tabulator and those same counts subsequently released to the public as the “unofficial final results” on election night. It resulted in Republican Jack Nelsen has beating Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald in the House Seat B race 50.2% to 49.8%***

BOSIE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The unofficial Idaho Election Results are still being sorted through, and as expected the Idaho Republican Party is holding onto its majority control across the state, but Idaho Democrats feel they made some progress this election cycle.

Idaho Governor Brad Little won a 2nd term with roughly 60 percent of the vote, and he will have a new lieutenant governor for his 2nd term. Republican Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke received around 65 percent of the vote in the lieutenant governor race. Bedke plans to have a more productive relationship with Little than he does with his current Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who had a reputation for questioning Little’s leadership, specifically during COVID. She also issued executive orders when he was out of state. Little had to rescind those orders upon returning to Idaho. McGeachin lost to Little in the Republican Primary for Idaho Governor, even with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

“I have worked well with four different governors, including Governor Little,” said Bedke. “We will work just fine. We will return dignity to the Office of Lieutenant Governor. We will never embarrass Idahoans again.”

Republican Idaho Attorney General candidate Raul Labrador also won his race with roughly 63 percent of the vote, even though last month it was reported that over 50 well known Republicans from across the state were supporting his Democratic challenger Tom Arkoosh.

“We need an attorney general who is going to follow the constitution and support the people and not the bureaucracies, as he has been saying as he goes around the state. I am a very big supporter of Raul Labrador,” said IDGOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon. “These nasty shenanigans, some of these Republicans, some of these elected legislators who got in with Republican funds, and are actually now going after a Republican candidate for AG is to me despicable.”

Election Integrity has been an issue nationwide this election cycle, specifically with Republican voters. Some of the people who attended the Idaho Republican Election Night on Tuesday at the Grove Hotel in Boise voiced their own concerns. Moon who is a vocal advocate of election integrity said on Election Day she was feeling okay but she did have a few reports that she checked out.

“If absentee ballots have been open a day early. Things like that I turn it over to the [Idaho} Secretary of State’s Office and report who made the complaint,” said Moon. “So far things are going okay but I’m sure as the day progresses there will be more calls.

Many voters said this election season their top concern was the economy and inflation. As results started coming in on Election Night and top Republicans started being reelected to seats in Idaho, Idaho Democratic Party Chair Lauren Necochea said she didn’t think her party should have focused more on the economy than say reproductive rights for women.

“We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We have answers for the economy and for your reproductive freedoms, and fighting back against extremism, “said Necochea. “Republicans have no answers when it comes to the rising cost of living.”

Additionally, Necochea said she didn’t expect the Idaho Democrats to flip Idaho overnight, but they are making incremental change.

“We are increasingly talking to lifelong Republicans who are saying I don’t recognize my party anymore. I’m going to vote Democratic,” Necochea said.

Democrat Terri Pickens Manweiler, who received roughly 30 percent of the vote in her race for Idaho Lieutenant Governor said she plans to run again for elected office.

“I know it’s been 50 years since a Democrat has one the Office of Lieutenant Governor, so I’m well aware of that,” Manweiler said.

A silver lining for the Idaho Democrats in 2022 is the Democrats is there performance in District 26, even with the district now encompassing Jerome County. According to unofficial results, Democrat Ned Burns is leading Republican Mike Pohanka for State House Seat A, and Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald was narrowly beaten by Republican Jack Nelsen for State House Seat B. In what seemed to be a surprise for some, Democratic newcomer Ron Taylor beat Republican Rep. Laurie Lickley for the District 26 State Senate seat. Before redistricting, Likely was the State Representative for District 25. She was elected to the seat in 2018.

In statement, Taylor said in part: