I want to give you three quick takeaways from the 2022 general election. Here they are:
Establishment Republicans had a rough night. You’ll recall that a smattering of washed up Republican officials rallied behind the Democrat in hopes of keeping Raul Labrador from becoming the state’s next attorney general. Yet Labrador collected as many votes and a bigger percentage than Gov. Brad Little. Simply put, the electorate rejected the antics pulled by the likes of Lori Otter, Phill Batt, and Ben Ysursa.
The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry lost in its biggest play of the year — trying to defeat SJR 102. The big business lobby dumped thousands of dollars into a no vote on a ballot measure aimed at allowing the Legislature to reconvene itself so that no Idaho governor would again have a free hand in tyrannical and unilateral governing. IACI’s failure to win over the electorate on this issue is further evidence of the organization’s faded star as a power broker in the state. As with the attorney general’s race, establishment Republican opposition — former Gov. Butch Otter pleaded for a no vote — did not change the outcome.
Conservatives now have a bigger share of the state Senate GOP caucus. One establishment Republican, Laurie Lickley, was easily defeated in southern Idaho. Democrats successfully flipped a Boise-area Senate seat their way. Meanwhile, former state Sen. Dan Foreman, a proven conservative, ousted liberal Sen. David Nelson. This means that while Democrats will have one more seat in the Senate (because Lickley was attempting to replace retiring Sen. Michelle Stennet, D-Ketchum, in the new District 26), the concentration of conservatives in that body is now such that the GOP caucus is nearly evenly split between conservative and establishment Republicans. This hasn’t happened in modern Idaho history.
I’ve been tracking, studying, and participating in elections since 1988. No election is a clean sweep. There will always be races that we wish had different outcomes. But the elections of 2022 clearly put Idaho’s conservatives on a path toward greater policy outcomes that can lead Idaho — and the country — away from socialism and back on a true path of prosperity.
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