5 things to watch in every state: Idaho

Oh, why did I decide to do this?

  1. Presidential election: Nearly a quarter of Idaho’s population are members of the Mormon Church.  Even though, there has been some backslide with elected Mormon officials deciding to support Donald Trump, Trump has been polling particularly poorly with members of the Mormon faith.  His abrasive personality, his personal life, and his willingness for religious persecution has many Mormons rethinking their traditionally Conservative views.  Enter Evan McMullin, a Mormon from Utah and a graduate from Brigham Young University.  McMullin has been polling well in Utah being able to place a strong third all the way to first depending on the poll.  The attractiveness of McMullin depends on people holding firm to their convictions and possibly more adversarial stories coming out about Trump’s personal life.  I believe there is more coming.  Because of the potential appeal of McMullin, it’ not out of the question that his second strongest showing will be in this state. I’m very interested in watching how McMullin performs in this state and how far Trump can fall in another state that should be an easy win for him.
  2. Idaho State Senate District 5: In Idaho,unlike many other states, state Senators serve two year terms and are not subject to term limits.  Because of this, we have better data of how State Senators will perform in each election.  In this district, the Democratic incumbent Dan Schmidt is running for re-election.  He was re-elected in 2012 with 51% of the vote.  He won re-election by just over 400 votes. In 2014, he was elected again by a slim margin.  This time by just less than 700 votes.  In Idaho and heavily Conservative states, I’m interested in seeing if Presidential election years are more Conservative because people are excited to cast their votes for President.  Especially in Idaho, what I’m interested in, is if Mitt Romney had unusually high appeal in the state, while as we mentioned Trump will likely do a lot worse.  McMullin gives Republicans an opportunity to not regret their vote for PResident and show up for downballot races.
  3. Idaho State Senate District 15: Well so much for my Romney theory…this district elected Republican Fred Martin by just under 800 votes in 2012.  In 2014, Martin was re-elected by just under 2,000 votes. If Republicans do significantly worse in this district because of Trump’s low appeal, this is a seat that could potentially flip (I wouldn’t count on it).  But I think this is also oa good test for Evan McMullin.
  4. Idaho State Senate District 29: Democrat Roy Lacey was elected in this district by just over 1,300 votes in 2012. In 2014, Republicans were able to make up about 100 votes into Lacey’s margin.  This could be a safe district for Democrats but if it’s possible that Idaho Republicans is going to turn out for the President, this could be one that flips the district.
  5. HJR5: There’s a slight fight over this Constitutional Amendment between the Idaho Governor and the Idaho Secretary of State with the Idaho Attorney General.  All three of these officials are Republicans. Wasden, from my understanding, is not one of the more “conservative”:Republicans that have sprung in the last 6 years.  Again, this is based on what could be a flawed understanding, is what could be considered an “establishment” Republican.  He defeated a challenger in 2014 and referenced the 2014 elections again, when asked in 2016 if he would endorse Trump:

“In many ways, this election cycle is similar to the one we had here in Idaho two years ago, when I suggested there was a fight taking place for the heart and soul of the Idaho Republican Party. This time, however, the fight is on a grander scale, one not just for the heart and soul of the national Republican Party but for the soul of the nation as a whole.”

Otter has been a supporter of Trump and will not back away from this statement.  In some ways, this might be a battle for Idaho Republican supremacy going forward.

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