Idaho Governor Fends Off Trump-Endorsed Primary Challenger While Longest-Serving Attorney General Is Defeated
Leslie Hayes votes with twin daughters Adelayde and Zoey, 7, who watch with abundant curiosity May 17, 2022, at a Boise, Idaho, precinct.
(Darin Oswald/The Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Tuesday’s Idaho primary results delivered a mixed bag for GOP incumbents as Gem State Governor Brad Little (R) won a crowded primary. At the same time, Idaho’s longest-serving attorney general lost to a former Tea Party Congressman promising to use the position in a more aggressive manner.

Idaho’s gubernatorial race was particularly interesting as it featured Little, as well as his Trump-endorsed Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin squaring off against each other alongside six other candidates.

“I felt the honor of serving the great state of Idaho in good times and in tough times,” Little said after winning the primary. “Once again I’m humbled by the awesome opportunity to serve and work for the great people of Idaho.”

Leading up to the race, the national spotlight shone on Idaho for the apparent rivalry between Little and McGeachin.

Idaho’s state constitution allows the lieutenant governor to enact executive orders and other policies while the governor is out of state, and McGeachin has regularly used that loophole, only for Little to return and undo her orders almost immediately.

Little had defended his conservative credentials in media interviews, arguing, “The proof is in the pudding.” Little told The Idaho Statesman that cutting red tape and providing tax relief “are not what you would associate with somebody that is not a Republican.”

It would appear Idaho voters agreed with that assessment, as Little took home 52.86% of the vote Tuesday night. McGeachin earned 32.20%. The rest of the candidates all earned less than 2% of the vote.

Regarding the attorney general race, former 1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador defeated Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in Tuesday’s Republican primary, The Idaho Capital Sun reported Wednesday morning.

Labrador was a popular Tea Party candidate originally elected to Congress in 2010. In 2018, he lost the state’s gubernatorial primary to Little. Wasden has served as the state’s attorney general for 20 years.

Labrador has accused his opponent of not being aggressive enough in fighting off federal government overreach.

“This job is not just a legal job, it’s a political job,” Labrador said during one debate. “I would just be a lot more aggressive.”

Following his win, Labrador said in a statement, “The people of Idaho have given me an opportunity to make sure that we have a strong conservative voice in the attorney general’s office, and I want to make sure that I make them proud.”

Little will face the winner of the Democratic primary, but those results will not be known for at least a week due to the party’s write-in laws for candidates. Democratic candidate Stephen Heidt officially ran unopposed on the ballot, but there is a chance that a write-in candidate could beat him.

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