Four Idahoans met the new earlier deadline to file as write-in candidates for the May 25 statewide primary. Three of the write-in candidates are in races for the Idaho House of Representatives where they face formal no primary challenge. None of the new candidates' names will appear on primary ballots. If any of the write-in candidates win next month, they would show up on the November general election ballot if they pay a $30 filing fee with the Idaho secretary of state.
The four candidates are spread across the state and split evenly between the two major parties. Democrat David Larsen of Coeur d’Alene is running against Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, the chair of the House Education Committee. Sheri Burke of Caldwell is a write-in candidate in the Democratic primary for the seat currently held by Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett. Republican David Bowen is throwing his name into the ring in the race for the House seat held by Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello. Fred Nichols of Nampa is joining a crowded Republican primary for governor that features incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, retired elk rancher Rex Rammell, Tamara Wells of Post Falls, and Pete Peterson of Boise.
Larsen wrote on the Kootenai County Democrats' website that he thinks elected officials like Nonini should face opponents in elections. "I feel strongly that citizens have not only the right and responsibility to elect their representatives, but they should have choices as well," he wrote. "Unopposed candidates actually have no accountability to the citizens unless they are challenged. My opponent clearly needs to be challenged!"
The four formal write-in names isn’t an aberration from past years. In 2008, there were six write-in candidates, including current Idaho Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Merrill, who challenged House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. There were three write-in candidates in the 2004 and 2006 primary elections, according to the secretary of state’s office.
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