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Politics & Government

Idaho GOP Focusing Election Efforts On Democratic Strongholds

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Molly Messick
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Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho only has a handful of competitive legislative races in the upcoming general election, but party officials on both sides are prepping for heated battles in key legislative districts across the state.

The state's Republican Party recently announced the launch of field offices in Lewiston, Moscow and Blaine County, some of the most strongly Democratic places in this super-majority Republican state. 

Idaho GOP executive director David Johnston says there are parts of Idaho his party will win without much effort. But others, he says, will be a fight.

“Each one of these field offices that we’ve announced so far is in a legislative district that we control one or more of the legislative seats in that district," Johnston says. "Which means that it’s a competitive district. And so we’re taking resources and taking the fight where the fight’s at.” 

 

In 2014, Democrat and House Minority Leader John Rusche defeated his Republican opponent by roughly 50 votes. Republicans are now setting up shop in his district.

The move hasn't intimidated Idaho Democrats; instead they argue that this year's presidential elections could move more voters in their favor. 

Janie Davidson, chair of the Blaine County Democrats, says she’s not worried about the GOP targeting her area. She says she’d expect it. Davidson points out Democrats also have a Blaine County office to back their candidates.