Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who is running for Idaho Secretary of State, announces endorsements from three former Idaho governors, including Butch Otter, second from right, during a news conference in the state Capitol rotunda on Thursday, March 10, 2022.
BOISE — A big flurry of candidates has filed to run for office this week, as the late-Friday filing deadline approaches, from Ammon Bundy filing to run for governor as an independent to Rep. Tammy Nichols filing to run for the state Senate to four pairs of local GOP House incumbents facing off against each other.
It’s all part of a big election year for Idaho, with every statewide office, two congressional seats and one in the U.S. Senate, and every seat in the state Legislature on the ballot. And with newly redrawn legislative districts, many candidates will be running in different districts or for open seats with no incumbent.
Bundy held a press conference on the state Capitol steps Thursday after filing to run as an independent, a switch from his earlier campaign for the office as a Republican.
Asked why he switched, Bundy said, “It was a very smart move, and I believe we can unite the conservatives, the liberty-minded people … under one candidate.”
In the newly redrawn legislative District 10, Nichols, a second-term GOP state representative from Middleton, filed to run for an open Senate seat, after the two House seats in the district already had drawn filings from other House GOP incumbents, Reps. Mike Moyle, R-Star, and Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa.
Also making the shift from the House to run for the Senate so far are Reps. Ben Adams, R-Nampa; Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell; and Codi Galloway, R-Boise, who has filed to challenge incumbent Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, in District 15.
Thus far, redistricting has created four matchups among Treasure Valley incumbents:
• Sens. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, and Abby Lee, R-Fruitland, are facing off in the new District 9. Two other Republicans, Kayla Dunn and Jordan Marques, also have filed for the Senate seat.
• In the same district, Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, is facing off against Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, for House Seat B.
• Sens. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, and Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, are facing off in the new District 14. Katie Donahue of Emmett also is running in the GOP primary for the seat.
• Reps. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, and Greg Ferch, R-Boise, are facing off in the GOP primary for House Seat A in the new District 22.
There have also been some retirement announcements from Treasure Valley legislators. Sens. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, and Regina Bayer, R-Meridian, have announced they won’t seek reelection, as have Reps. John McCrostie, D-Garden City, Steven Harris, R-Meridian, and Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, who made his announcement Thursday.
In filings for statewide office, five candidates have filed for lieutenant governor, including GOP House Speaker Scott Bedke and state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird; three Republicans have filed for Attorney General, including incumbent Lawrence Wasden and challengers Raul Labrador and Art Macomber; and the race for state superintendent of schools has draw four hopefuls, including incumbent GOP Supt. Sherri Ybarra, Republican challengers Debbie Critchfield and Branden Durst, and Democratic candidate Terry Gilbert.
Phil McGrane, the current elected Republican Ada County clerk, held a press conference in the Capitol rotunda Thursday afternoon at which former GOP Gov. Butch Otter announced that McGrane’s candidacy for Idaho Secretary of State has now been endorsed by three former GOP governors: Otter, former Gov. Phil Batt, and former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. McGrane officially filed his candidacy at the close of the press conference; he faces Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, and Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, in the GOP primary.
The primary election is May 17; the general election is Nov. 8.
The candidate list won’t be complete until Friday’s deadline, and it may be long into the evening before the final list is posted on the Idaho Secretary of State’s website. The list can be found online at sos.idaho.gov; click on the purple button that says “Report of Candidates Filed.”
Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.