Idaho voters oust multiple Republican lawmakers, including Freedom Caucus members

Rep. Ron Nate
Rep. Ron Nate

Six Idaho lawmakers, all Republican and all from the eastern third of the state, lost re-election bids Tuesday, including two committee chairs and three members of the Idaho Freedom Caucus.

Four lost by narrow margins: Reps. Ron Nate, Tom Loertscher and Karey Hanks each had 48 to 49 percent of the vote in their races. Rep. Julie VanOrden received 46 percent support.

Five-term Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, lost to challenger Gary Marshall by nearly 20 percentage points. Marshall will face Democrat Pat Tucker in the general election.

And Sen. Tony Potts, R-Idaho Falls, was ousted by Dave Lent by a 30-point margin. In November, Lent will face Democrat Jerry Sehlke.

Potts, a Freedom Caucus supporter, was just appointed to the seat last fall to fill a vacancy.

Nate, R-Rexburg, and Hanks, R-St. Anthony, also belong to that caucus, formed to draw more attention to certain conservative legislation. The victor in Nate's race, Doug Ricks, has no Democratic opponent this fall. Hanks was beaten by Rod Furniss, who faces Democrat Jerry Browne.

Loertscher, a seven-term representative from Iona, chairs the House State Affairs Committee. He lost to challenger Chad Christensen, who has no Democratic opponent this fall.

VanOrden, from Pingree, has served three terms and chairs the House Education Committee. With no Democratic challenger, Julianne Young is now set to take that seat.

Another prominent face in the Freedom Caucus survived a close primary challenge. Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow, beat challenger Marshall Comstock by just 109 votes in another 51-49 split. Foreman has made headlines for a series of comments on charging women who have abortions with murder, and for an altercation this past February with some University of Idaho students affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow, was recorded Feb. 19, 2018, in a confrontation with students who had traveled from the University of Idaho to participate in Planned Parenthood’s lobby day in Boise. The students said on Facebook they had set up a meeti

Other races

Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra won her re-election primary by a healthy margin Tuesday, maintaining 60 percent of the vote over challenger Jeff Dillon with almost nine-tenths of Idaho ballots counted.

She'll face Democrat Cindy Wilson in November. Wilson received 85 percent of the vote in her primary contest with Allen Humble.

Two Democrats sought their party's nod to represent Idaho's 2nd Congressional District. As of 2:30 a.m., Aaron Swisher was in the lead with roughly 68 percent of the vote over opponent Peter Rickards. The winner will face the only Republican in that race, incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson.

Julie Ellsworth prevailed in a three-way Republican race for state treasurer, securing roughly 37 percent of the vote over competitors Tom Kealey (34 percent) and Vicky McIntyre (29 percent).

Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, @ruthbrownnews
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