How Idaho Governor Brad Little Won the Republican Primary
Idaho's political contest is finally over. Tuesday night's primary results marked the end for some candidates who've been campaigning for over a year. The national media portrayed Idaho as a fringe state on the verge of an alt-right takeover.
Last night's results revealed that most Idahoans are happy with how things are in their lives. The governor's message of tax cuts, battling Joe Biden's vaccine mandates, and pay raises for select groups paid off his reelection efforts.
Governor Little's leadership during the pandemic was in the hands of the voters. Despite several critics, Little prevailed with over 50% of the vote. Folks have moved on from the summer protests against the major hospital systems that we saw two years ago. The governor's strategy of television ads, not debating, and touting Idaho's economy helped elevate his vote count from 37% four years ago to 53% today.
Janice McGeachin finished behind the governor with 32% of the primary vote. The lieutenant governor valiantly tried to highlight the business closings and stay-at-home orders, a significant focus of her campaign. Her campaign was outspent by Governor Little, who received assistance from the Republican Governor's Association.
President Trump did endorse the lieutenant governor but didn't follow up his endorsement with support for Janice McGeachin. The former president provided robocalls and other support for his candidates in Pennsylvania; he gave Idaho the Heisman.
Political insiders believed that only an appearance by President Trump would've altered the race. 2022 is the second campaign cycle that President Trump has failed to help Idaho candidates. He stayed out of the race four years ago when Raul Labrador ran for governor.
Newcomer Ed Humphreys finished his first campaign with 11% of the vote. Humphreys worked in the state for over a year campaigning on property tax reform, an end to corruption, and accountability in state government. His campaign featured flashy social media videos that attracted nontraditional voters to his efforts.
It's challenging for a first-time candidate to succeed in securing a state office. Humphreys's youth and energy will allow him to be successfully elected if he decides to pursue running for office in the future. He has built a grassroots organization that will allow him to remain a player in Idaho politics.
Another primary that didn't feature a debate was the contest between Scott Bedke and Pricilla Giddings for lieutenant governor. Giddings might be second-guessing her decision not to debate Bedke, considering that she lost by 10%. The fighter pilot opted out of the debates due to her concerns over who would be asking the candidates the questions.
Bedke spent a ton of money on direct mail and television, while Giddings had the same amount of money but focused on grassroots events. Bedke now moves on to the heir apparent of Little if he chooses to run in four years. Giddings will have to decide if she will continue to be the freedom fighter that she's been known for since running for elected office.
Idaho conservatives were most confident about the lieutenant governor's race believing that a one-on-one contest would favor the more conservative candidate. Bedke's win shatters that argument. Gidding's had to fight negative ads and media reports during her run for office.
Primary elections are a lot report cards. Tuesday night's results indicate that Idaho Republican voters are happy with the leadership of Governor Little. Unlike other states, he will not face a significant opposition from the democrats in November. He will face political independent Ammon Bundy and a few others on the ballot in the fall.
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