As the dust settles from a busy election night, it appears that Idaho Democrats have lost three seats in the state House, dropping from 16 to 13 seats there, but kept even with seven seats in the state Senate.
There could still be recounts in some close races, but by the unofficial results, here’s the tally:
In the House, five-term Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone, lost to Democratic challenger Donna Pence. That’s in District 25, which includes heavily Democratic Blaine County. But that pickup for the Democrats was offset by four losses, for a net loss of three seats.
The four: First-term Rep. Allen Andersen, D-Pocatello, lost to GOP challenger Ken Andrus in District 29. Coeur d’Alene city attorney Mike Gridley lost his bid to take over former Democratic Rep. Bonnie Douglas’ House seat in District 4 after beating her in the primary; he lost to GOP activist Marge Chadderdon. Seven-term Rep. Chuck Cuddy, D-Orofino, lost to his Republican challenger in District 8, Paul Shepherd. And former Silver Valley Democratic legislator Gino White fell to Republican Jana Kemp in a close-fought contest in Boise’s District 16, where former Democratic Rep. David Langhorst left his seat to run for the Senate.
In the Senate, Langhorst won, taking over a formerly Republican seat held by the retiring GOP Sen. Cecil Ingram. And Democrat Kate Kelly defeated Republican Dave Baumann to take over former GOP Sen. Sheila Sorensen’s old Senate seat in District 18. But Sen. Marti Calabretta, D-Osburn, lost to GOP challenger Joyce Broadsword in District 2, and the seat held by retiring Sen. Fred Kennedy, D-Mountain Home, went to Republican Tim Corder in District 22. That leaves the party split in the state Senate right where it was before – 28 Republicans, 7 Democrats.
Other threatened upsets didn’t materialize. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, won by almost 2,000 votes over challenger Earl Bennett. Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, easily fought off a challenge from Rep. Mike Naccarato, D-Lewiston. Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, beat his challenger, St. Maries Democrat George Currier, by more than 2,000 votes, and Sen. Bert Marley, D-McCammon, held off a challenge from former Sen. Evan Frasure, R-Pocatello.
President Bush swept Idaho, with just one of 44 counties – Blaine – favoring Sen. John Kerry over the president. Blaine County, which is heavily Democratic, is where Kerry has an Idaho home. Even Latah County favored Bush, by a 256-vote margin. Overall, Bush took 68 percent of Idaho’s votes to Kerry’s 30 percent. But Kerry’s tally was a small improvement over Democrat Al Gore’s four years ago, when Gore got just 27.6 percent in Idaho.