2018 Idaho Midterm Election Results

Nov 7, 2018

Live election results: Get the latest on Idaho's propositions and races for governor, Senate and House. 

Update — 9:20 a.m.:

Republican Sherri Ybarra has won a second four-year term as Idaho's superintendent of public instruction.

Credit Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Ybarra, a former teacher and curriculum director who was first elected to the top schools post in 2014, beat Democratic challenger Cindy Wilson, a longtime teacher and Department of Correction board member.

Ybarra spent 17 years as a teacher, district administrator and curriculum director for the Mountain Home School District before seeking higher political office.

The position requires overseeing the state's public school system. The superintendent of public instruction also serves on the five-member Idaho Land Board, which oversees 2.5 million acres of land to benefit state public schools.

Update — 9:06 a.m.:

Voters in Ada County have voted against a proposed increase by Ada County Highway District to raise vehicle registration fees.

Westbound traffic backs up on the Interstate 184 Connector in Boise during rush hour.
Credit Idaho Statesman

With all precints reporting, the ballot measure failed by 13,000, a difference of less than seven points.

The increase in fees was to widen intersections, add turn lanes, improve signals and bikes lanes, and provide safer routes to school, according to ACHD officials. Had it been approved, registration fees would have gone up 75%.

Update — 8:52 a.m.:

Voters in Ontario, Oregon have approved a measure to allow the sale of marijuana in the city. At last count, 1,904 persons voted in favor of the proposal, with 1,450 opposed.

The measure, which goes into effect in January, also calls for a 3% tax to be collected on the sale of marijuana in the city.

Update — 2:00 a.m. via AP: The candidates for Idaho's superintendent of public instruction were fewer than 1,000 votes apart in unofficial returns Wednesday morning, making the race too close to call.

Republican Sherri Ybarra, who was teacher and curriculum director before she was elected to Idaho's top education post in 2014, is vying for a second term. She faces Democrat Cindy Wilson, a longtime teacher and Department of Correction board member.

The position requires overseeing the state's public school system. The superintendent of public instruction also serves on the five-member Idaho Land Board, which oversees 2.5 million acres of land to benefit state public schools.

Credit Roam Yocham / Boise State Public Radio

Update — 1:30 a.m. via AP:

Idaho voters have rejected a ballot initiative that would have allowed race tracks to install slot-like betting machines called historical horse racing terminals.

Lawmakers first approved the instant horse racing machines in 2013 but repealed the law two years later over concerns that they looked too much like casino-style slot machines. That's when proponents of horse racing and the instant racing terminals launched an effort to bring them back through the ballot initiative.

Opponents have criticized the effort as disingenuous, saying the state shouldn't give special exemptions to gambling rules to prop up struggling private businesses.

Update — 11:50 p.m. via AP:

Idaho voters have approved a ballot initiative that will expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 62,000 Idaho residents who can't afford health insurance on the state exchange.

The vote means lawmakers must now enact laws to expand Medicaid coverage to adults who currently earn too much to qualify but don't earn enough to get subsidized health insurance coverage on the state health exchange.

Lawmakers have repeatedly shot down legislative efforts to expand Medicaid coverage, and that prompted the citizen ballot initiative effort.

Proponents say expanding Medicaid coverage will bring federal tax dollars home to Idaho and reduce state health costs by reducing the cost of indigent care currently borne by local governments and health care facilities. But opponents claimed the expansion would be bad for the state and pull money from other needs like education or infrastructure.

Earlier in the evening, Boise State Public Radio asked Governor Elect Brad Little if he agrees with Butch Otter calling Proposition 2 an Idaho-grown solution. Here was his response:

Update — 11:37 p.m. via AP:

Janice McGeachin, GOP, elected Lieutenant Governor. 

“Thank you so much for all that you’ve done to help us be successful in our campaign," McGeachin said during her acceptance speech at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City. "I cannot wait to become your next Lt. Governor and work to protect all the traditional conservative values that we all hold so dear to ourselves." 

Update — 11:08 p.m. via AP:

Republican Mike Simpson has won an 11th term representing Idaho's 2nd Congressional District.

Simpson defeated Democratic challenger Aaron Swisher, a Boise economist, to retain the seat.

Simpson currently sits on the powerful House appropriations committee and is the chairman for the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, and he's voted multiple times in opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

During his campaign Simpson said he opposes amnesty programs for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. He also promised to promote the expansion of nuclear energy for the nation's energy needs, but said the country still will need traditional energy sources including coal.

Update — 11:02 p.m. via AP:

Republican Russ Fulcher has won Idaho's 1st Congressional District, defeating Democrat Cristina McNeil and six other candidates. 

Fulcher, a former state lawmaker and real estate broker from Meridian, will replace Rep. Raul Labrador in the U.S. House of Representatives.


"I want to just promise you, fellow Republicans that I - that we - take this very very seriously," Fulcher said during his acceptance speech. "Your Republicans will stand for the foundation of constitutional principles and we will work together with honor to represent you and Idaho both locally and on a worldwide stage."

During his campaign, Fulcher opposed Medicaid Expansion and instead pushed for something he called "patient-centric alternatives for health care," which he said would include charity care, more tax-free options for health savings accounts and reduced federal health care mandates.

He also said he wants the state to have more control over federal lands and opposed federal regulations on public education policy.


Update — 10:54 p.m. via AP:

Lt. Gov. Brad Little greets supports while waiting for vote results in Boise, Idaho, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.
Credit AP

Longtime Republican lawmaker Brad Little has defeated Democratic challenger Paulette Jordan to become Idaho's next governor.

Little's win comes as no surprise in the deeply conservative state, despite significant national media attention given to his opponent.

“The view I’ve had of the governor’s job over the last few years," said Little during his acceptance speech in front of supporters at the GOP headquarters in Boise, "I’ve seen all the decisions that go across that desk. And I will look through all those decisions through only one lens: and that’s how do we have the best opportunity for us, for our kids and for our grandkids to be successful here in Idaho.”

Little has been lieutenant governor since 2009 and has vowed to continue retiring Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's legacy of leading the state's recent explosive growth.

Opponent Paulette Jordan, a former state lawmaker and member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, was the first woman to earn her party's nomination in Idaho.

Update — 10:35 p.m.: 

If you're joining us for our live broadcast coverage of the midterm results, here's a peek at who you're hearing tonight:

Update — 10:25 p.m.: 

What's the talk in far Eastern Idaho, near the Wyoming border? We checked in with Scott Stuntz, a freelance reporter based out of Driggs. He said: "It's kind of interesting because, I would say that Eastern Idaho and Teton County are a little bit different. [In Teton County], we're kind of a purple dot in a sea of red."

"If you go up around Rexburg area and Idaho Falls area, that's pretty solidly Republican," Stuntz said. "And if you look at Teton County itself, it's more of a mix. If you look at the presidential history, Trump won here by eight votes. Romney won by a little bit. And then Obama won before that. And they've all been pretty close."

As for Proposition 2, Stuntz said the ballot initiative gained a lot of support.

"There are a lot of service jobs in this county, so Medicaid Expansion has been quite a thing."

Update — 9:34 p.m.: 

Tweets from our reporters in the field:

Update — 8:36 p.m.: 

As we check in on races around the state tonight, we touched base with reporter Chris Huston in Twin Falls. He surveyed voters at a polling place located in a church in a rapidly growing part of the city.

The battle over Proposition 1, to lift the ban on historic horse racing, has divided voters here. Ken Bohr opposes it and said: "I'm not that much for gambling, and I hate to see Idaho money going to people's pockets, in other states."

But fellow voter Curtis Buatte disagreed: "The business, horse racing, needs a little help, and I believe everybody has a free choice whether they want to gamble or not."

Depsite their differences in opinion, both voters agreed on support for Proposition 2, expanding Medicaid.

As a whole, Magic Valley voters tend to be reliably Republican—many cheer on Republican leadership here in Idaho and in Washington. But some, like Farzad Moradi, worry about single party control.

"I think this midterm is like, the most important election of our lifetime," Moradi said. "And we need to elect people that actually check Washington and make sure, make sure they're controlling the powers there."

Update — 7:39 p.m.:

Reporter Heath Druzin is amongst the crowd at the Grove Hotel, the venue for the Democratic Headquarters tonight:


A crowd gathers in a ballroom at the Grove Hotel before 8 p.m. on Election Night.
Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

More from the scene at the Democratic Headquarters on Election Night.
Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Update — 7:24 p.m.:

Reporter James Dawson is posted up at the Republican Headquarters for tonight at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City, waiting for the candidates to arrive:


GOP candidate signs adorn the walls of a ballroom at the Riverside Hotel.
Credit James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

More signs at the Riverside on Election Night.
Credit James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio


Update — 7:09 p.m.:

We're taking a look at races around the state tonight. Peter Jensen, a political reporter for Idaho Mountain Express, gives Boise State Public Radio News this look at one of the most-watched local races in the Wood River Valley.

Republican incumbent for District 26 Steve Miller is facing a challenge from Democratic newcomer, Muffy Davis. 

“Blaine County has a number of Democratic voters, but the other three counties in the District - Camas, Gooding and Lincoln - typically tilt heavily toward the Republicans.” said Jensen. “It will be interesting to see if the Democrats in Blaine County can really turn out in strong numbers this year and neutralize that advantage and tilt the contest to the Democrat, Muffy Davis.”

Miller won the position after longtime legislator Wendy Jaquet retired in 2012. He subsequently won the next two contests by narrow margins, in 2014 by 126 votes, and in 2016 by 269 votes. 

His challenger, Davis, is an Olympic athlete who competed in the Paralympic Winter Games in Alpine skiing in 1998 and 2002 and, as a cyclist, in the Summer Games in 2012. Her campaign has been fueled by the drive to expand Medicaid in Idaho and by a surge of women candidates nationwide.

Update — 5:32 p.m. via AP: 

Idaho officials say yellow warning placards at polling places in college towns are not meant to deter students from voting but simply spell out residency requirements for those seeking to register and vote on Election Day.

The signs raised eyebrows in Rexburg, where some voters said on social media Tuesday that they seemed intimidating. ACLU-Idaho community engagement manager Jeremy Woodson told the Idaho Statesman that the organization is concerned about voter suppression, and students who have lived in the county for at least 30 days can register to vote there.

Idaho Secretary of State Chief Deputy Tim Hurst says the two-pages notices have been used for more than a decade in towns with significant college student populations, and notes students can lose residency status in their home states if they register to vote in Idaho.