Rex Rammell ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008 as an Independent and only won about 3 percent of the total. He fared much better in 2010's Republican gubernatorial primary, where he received 26 percent of the vote against incumbent Gov. Butch Otter. Rammell, in an interview withIdahoReporter.com, says that he is considering a run for the Idaho Legislature, though he is unsure of where he might run.
Reports surfaced shortly after his loss in the primary election that Rammell might be uprooting himself and his family in the eastern Idaho town of Ammon and moving to Grangeville in Idaho County. Rammell said Wednesday that he spent the summer in the area fishing and recreating, but that he doesn't plan to move there permanently. "We might build a cabin there, depending on how things shake out," Rammell said. He and his family are back in Ammon for the school year because the former gubernatorial candidate promised his daughter to remain in the area until she finishes her education.
In late May, Rammell said that he was done with Idaho politics for the foreseeable future and that he had no plans to run for elected office. He might be changing his tune slightly, though he points out that he hasn't made any firm decisions. "My supporters in District 2, the St. Maries area, are wanting me to run there," said Rammell. "And I'm considering it. But I am waiting until they draw the districts up next year to see what happens."
Barring any wild changes to the boundaries in District 2, Rammell would likely have two elected officials to attempt to unseat. Rammell is a man some in the state consider to be on the on the right ideologically and District 2 has one lawmaker already known for his conservative ways. Adam Graham, a blogger who keeps a watchful eye on Idaho's political scene, gave Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, a perfect conservative score on his votes in the 2010 legislative session. On the same test, Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, scored a 59 percent. The district's lone Democrat, Rep. Mary Lou Shepard of Wallace, received a 40 percent on Graham's scorecard, only 1o points lower than the lowest-rated Republican in the House, Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow.
Would Rammell stand a chance in the area? Harwood thinks so. “Rex is pretty well-known up here,” said Harwood. “I think he’d be pretty well received.” Harwood cautioned that no one should jump ahead of themselves when speculating about re-districting that will take place in 2011. “I know that districts aren’t going to stay the same. It’s always a mess … so he might not be running against those guys (Broadsword and Shepherd).” Rammell won Benewah County in the 2010 primary election by garnering about 600 votes, 240 more than Otter. In the district’s other county, Shoshone, Rammell didn’t perform as well, earning 185 votes compared to Otter’s 443.
Rammell says the move to the St. Maries area isn't for sure, but it's something that could boost his political prospects in the future. "It'd be good for me to be a sitting legislator if I run for governor again," Rammell concluded.