Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Jim Hansen said his party will build momentum from Tuesday’s primary elections that saw few contested Democratic races.
“I think in the Republican primaries, you’ve seen some rather unseemly stuff going on,” he told IdahoReporter.com,saying that was specifically the case with the Republican 1st Congressional District race between Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, and Vaughn Ward. He also said that the current national political climate and rough economic outlook may have swayed potential candidates against running as Democrats this year.
In Idaho’s contested Democratic statewide primaries, Keith Allred won the governor’s race and Tom Sullivan won the U.S. Senate election. Democrats had two contested state legislative races. Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, won the primary to replace her husband, former Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, who is recovering from brain cancer. In a House district representing Boise, Cherie Buckner-Webb defeated David Cadwell. Hansen said the Boise race wasn’t divisive. “Lots of people have said it’s a win-win,” he said. “That’s rare in a primary on the Republican side.”
Hansen also said that the Democratic Party opposes party registration and switching to a closed primary in Idaho. “A large percentage of people consider themselves independent,” he said. “By closing them, we’re saying ‘no, this exclusive. You can’t participate until the general election.’ I think the tradition in Idaho has always been that independents are welcome, certainly in the Democratic Party.”
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