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Idaho (Open Seat)

Outlook: Leans Republican

November 8, 2006 Update:

Butch Otter (R) defeated Jerry Brady (D) with 52% of the vote.

August 2, 2006 Update:

Every indication is that Congressman Butch Otter is continuing to do very well, and will be the next Republican governor of Idaho, succeeding now-acting Gov. Jim Risch.

March 27, 2006 Update:

With Governor Dirk Kempthorne‘s selection as Secretary of the Interior by President Bush in mid-March, Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch is poised to become governor. Risch has decided to do an unusual thing–to fill out Kempthorne’s term, but not run for a full term as governor; rather, he is seeking another term as lieutenant governor. This is good for GOP unity and it nearly guarantees that Congressman Butch Otter will be Risch’s successor as the state’s chief executive.


Idaho is proving that it is not immune to the current political landscape. Once considered a shoo-in for Republican Butch Otter, the race may be slightly more competitive than we once thought. A Goodwin Simon Victoria research poll released on September 14 shows Democrat Jerry Brady has succeeded in causing voters to think twice before committing to Otter. While the numbers do not necessarily indicate a huge surge in support for Brady in particular, they do show a sizable portion of voters re-considering their choice of candidate with regards to who they “lean” towards. Brady’s campaign is hoping that two scheduled debates and new television ads will strengthen the trend and sway more voters come November. This race has the potential to get interesting as the election nears.

Brenan Richards, Crystal Ball Pacific Regional Correspondent


Two-term Republican Governor Dirk Kempthorne, a former U.S. senator, is stepping down. GOP Congressman Butch Otter will be the party nominee to succeed him. Former newspaper publisher Jerry Brady looks like the Democratic nominee, although it really doesn’t matter much who the Democrats select in this one-party state.


Jerry Brady – Democrat – 2002 gubernatorial nominee and former newspaper publisher

Butch Otter – Republican – current U.S. Congressman and former Idaho Lt. Governor