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Eight-term Congressman Mike Simpson, a Republican, is facing a tough primary challenge from the right. Tea Party Republican Bryan Smith wants to unseat Simpson.NPR host David Green and producer Arnie Seipel are following the race. The two say the Simpson-Smith primary could be a GOP bellwether nationally.“We started talking to a lot of the members of our political team about ‘where are the races that will help us tell this story?,’” Greene says. “The 2nd Congressional District in Idaho kept coming up."

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson Looking To Be Appropriations Committee Chair

Mike Simpson

Republican Representative Mike Simpson is throwing his hat in the ring for a leadership position on a powerful congressional committee. The 10-term legislator is looking to be the group’s leader.

When the current chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, a New Jersey Republican, announced he wouldn’t be seeking reelection in the fall, Mike Simpson saw an opportunity.

The former dentist from eastern Idaho is joining at least three other GOP congressman who hope to be the next chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The House committee is one of the most powerful as it controls the purse strings of the federal government.

Simpson isn’t guaranteed the leadership role. Two hopefuls, Republican Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Kay Granger of Texas, both have more seniority than the Idaho congressman. Tom Cole of Oklahoma is the fourth lawmaker looking for the prestigious post, but there are six more senior members above him.

Simpson tells the Statesman he thinks his bid for the chairmanship is a longshot, but with a pragmatic record of working with colleagues across the aisle, his chances may rise.

Idaho’s delegation in Washington D.C. is well placed in Congressional leadership. Senator Mike Crapo is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Senator Jim Risch heads the Senate Small Business Committee and is next in line to lead the Foreign Relations Committee.

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