Election Results

Attorney General

Candidate Votes Percentage
Bruce S. Bistline (D) 203,059
35%
Lawrence Wasden (R) 384,126
65%

Idaho Attorney General Survey Responses

Party
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
Democrat
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
Republican
Education
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
BA - Business, Colorado College, JD, University of Idaho
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
BA-BYU, JD-University of Idaho
Occupation and relevant work experience
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
Practiced law for over 40 years. Broad practice experience from Criminal Law to Class Actions including Consumer Protection, Divorce, Injury Claims, Worker's Compensation, Contracts and more. Mediated over 250 high conflict divorces. Extensive communication skills training. Started and operated own practice. Consulted with Businesses and Law Practices about organizational issues and staffing issues. Operated for five years a multi-day, multi-venue sports event with a staff of between 80 and 100 volunteers.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I am currently the Idaho Attorney General and have served in that capacity since taking office in January 2003. I served my predecessor Attorney General for six years as the Chief of Staff. Attorney General, Jim Jones appointed me as a Deputy Attorney General in January of 1989. I have served also as a line deputy, a supervising deputy and as Assistant Chief of Staff. Prior to that I had a private practice in Nampa, Idaho and also served as the Owyhee County Prosecuting Attorney and as a Canyon County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.
Past political experience and campaigns
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
Attorney General candidate 2014
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I successfully campaigned and was elected to the office of Attorney General in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy for yourself or for your business? If yes, please tell us when and the circumstances.
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
No.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
No, I have never filed for bankruptcy for myself or for my business.
Have you been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges? (Traffic citations not included). If yes, what were the convictions and the circumstances?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
No.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
No, I have not been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony crimes. (Traffic citations not included.)
Why are you running for this office?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
Primarily as insurance against the possibility that the candidate who emerged from the closed Republican primary was someone that I would have found unacceptable. It is offensive to me, and I think to the democratic process, that in a State in which, absent a "blue wave," the Republican candidate in Statewide races is likely to get more than 50% of the vote by just being on the ballot, those of us who refuse to register as Republicans are foreclosed from participating in the only actually contested race for any given office. So I am registered as a candidate in order to provide a choice.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I have the opportunity and ability to serve the people of Idaho. I believe that I still have something to contribute to our state.
What are your top three priorities if elected?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
1. No more nuclear waste storage in Idaho until the Government's breaches of the existing contract are cured and even then no more waste than is necessary to study decontamination/storage issues until a viable process has been identified and tested. 2. Being certain that public officials who squander public funds in ill advised investments through friends or enter into unfavorable contracts with political supporters are fully and carefully investigated and prosecuted where warranted. 3. Addressing some glaring deficiencies in the consumer protection laws and regulations including the horrible abuses currently prevalent in the sale of outdated mobile homes.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I have five top priorities: 1. Firm and fair criminal prosecution; 2. Protecting Idaho’s water and sovereignty; 3. Protecting Idaho’s consumers and businesses from fraud; 4. Exercising wise stewardship over state endowment lands to obtain the constitutionally required maximum long-term financial return for Idaho’s school children and other beneficiaries; and, 5. Ensuring justice for all Idahoans
Why should voters select you over your opponent(s)?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
My opponent is a good and honorable man who has been willing, on occasion, to take stand against ill advised or unconstitutional legislation or policy that has been pointlessly advanced by the Republican controlled legislature or other elected official. Frankly, there is not a lot of difference between us other than the fact that I would not be constrained by party politics or the desire to run for re-election. If elected I would be 71 when my term expired and I cannot imagine running for or holding statewide governmental post after age 70.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I have served as Idaho’s Attorney General for 16 years and have the experience necessary to continue contributing to our state. The Attorney General is independently elected by voters and I have the independence to serve the people of Idaho. Public service is not always easy and sometimes, unfortunately, properly serving requires me to be involved in conflict. Other times, the independence of the Attorney General allows me to advise my clients in a way that best serves the interests of my statutory clients, as well as my ultimate client, the people of the state of Idaho.
How would you address nuclear waste stored at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
I have addressed this above. As a general principle I have throughout my practice life advised my clients not to enter into contracts or other agreements with entities or persons who have already demonstrated the incapacity or refusal to honor agreements that already exist. INL needs work and its work is important to the economy of eastern Idaho. But, until there is a permanent repository for safely contained spent nuclear fuels the waste should be stored as safely as possible as close to the point of generation as possible. In some cases that will mean “hardening” existing nuclear power plants to reduce the threat of terrorism. But Idaho should not become the de-facto national waste dump. As a society we need to get beyond the silly notion that nuclear energy is clean and economical energy. Nuclear waste expensive to manage and it is dangerous for centuries after it is created.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
There is much misunderstanding concerning the nuclear waste issue. The Attorney General is one of two state signatories on the 1995 Nuclear Waste Agreement started by Governor Andrus and completed and signed by Governor Batt. Therefore, my role has been to uphold and enforce the 1995 agreement. I don’t have authority to step beyond that role. I have meticulously and simultaneously upheld the requirements of that agreement including the duty to support the laboratory, as well as, the duty to require cleanup of nuclear waste. I have been very clear that I will continue to enforce the 1995 agreement.
How can the attorney general ensure open meeting and public records laws are followed?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
All political entities need to be fully trained and training (including a manual) needs to be updated annually. A person in the AG's office needs to be fully available to provide training to the public, to answer questions for the public and to investigate concerns raised by the public.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
The Attorney General does not have the legal authority to ensure that these laws will always be followed. However, I have conducted about 45 three-hour presentations throughout the state on a rotating basis to train local government officials, state media and the public on both the open meeting law and the public records act. By law, the Attorney General has the responsibility to enforce the open meeting law against state agencies and I take that responsibility very seriously. The county prosecuting attorney enforces the law against local government agencies. On the other hand, by law, the sole remedy for a public records violation is for the aggrieved person to bring an action in court. I try to assist local government officials, the media and the public with properly complying with both these laws.
On the state Land Board, do you support getting the state endowment out of investing in lake cabin sites and commercial properties?
Bruce Bistline
Democrat
I have not fully studied this issue. As I currently understand the matter, I can say that if the Land Board is going to lease lands for cabin sites or as commercial properties it should charge the going rate or a the most that it can get in a competitive market. Historically, the lake cabin sites have been substantially under productive and this is, in my mind, unconstitutional. I realize that there is a concern that the Land Board has a competitive advantage in setting lease prices because the land it holds is exempt from property tax. It seems to me that this problem is solved if the Land Board has to lease property at market value. With this understanding, I would say that the Land Board's constitutional duty to maximize profits and the private property owners interest in not having a competitive disadvantage can both be satisfied by the creation of a system that insures the Land Board is charging and collecting rent reflecting the market value of the property.
Lawrence Wasden
Republican
I made the motion to sell the lake cabin sites and sued the Land Board to see that the lands were sold at public auction as required in the constitution. I did so because over the last century the Land Board had repeatedly shown that it lacked the political will and courage to fulfill its constitutional duty to obtain the maximum long-term financial return. Currently, the Land Board is well into the process of getting out of the lake cabin site investments. Although there is much confusion on the issue, the Idaho Constitution requires the Land Board to invest in those lands (including commercial lands) that produce the most money in the long term. However, the Land Board’s professional financial advisors have rendered their opinion that, based on Land Board’s investment portfolio, asset mix and legal requirements, it is best to invest in other lands, such as timber land and agricultural land. Based on that advice, I have supported the investment in timber and agricultural lands.