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Ripples from redistricting: Candidates have two weeks to move

Legislators or candidates who don't like the districts where they landed in this year's reapportionment still have time to move to run in a different district - but not a lot of time. Candidates for the Idaho Legislature must live in their district for a year before the election. The next election is Nov. 6, 2012, so by Nov. 6, 2011 - just over two weeks from now - anyone moving would have to get it done.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said he doesn't recall redistricting-prompted moves happening all that much over the years. "There was contemplation of some folks doing it this time around that I'd heard, but the way it came out, it wasn't quote unquote necessary," he said.

Sen. Joyce Broadsword, for one, doesn't plan to move - though she's near the line between District 1 and 2 in the new districts (she represented District 2 in the old districts). "We live on ground that was homesteaded by my husband's grandparents," said Broadsword, R-Sagle, who landed in District 1 along with longtime Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. "I'm not willing to move to possibly retain a Senate seat." But she added with a laugh, "Although I have been asked by the people of Shoshone County to consider moving down there." They even offered to find her a job or a house or both, she said. "I've made some really good friends down there, and they are disappointed that I won't be able to represent them after my term's over."

Shoshone County landed in the new District 7, the largest new district in North Idaho, which takes in part of Kootenai County plus all of Clearwater, Idaho and Shoshone counties. Broadsword lives in southern Bonner County.

Broadsword won't seek a fifth term in the Senate in 2012, in deference to Keough. "I have known since they started talking about reapportionment that there was no way I was going to run against Sen. Keough - I have too much respect for her, she is too valuable to the folks of North Idaho to lose her in the Senate," Broadsword said. Keough is vice chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the key legislative panel that writes the state budget. "So I will gladly bow out and let her continue, throw my support behind her."

Elsewhere in the state, there will be five open Senate seats and 10 open House seats due to redistricting; it's possible that lawmakers who landed in adjacent districts and now face races against other incumbents may move to try for those open seats, or that House members in crowded districts may switch over and run for an open Senate seat, as in District 8 - where there's an open Senate seat, but five House incumbents, including House Speaker Lawerence Denney and Assistant Majority Leader Ken Roberts.

The open Senate seats are in districts 8, 12, 14, 15 and 21. The open House seats are in districts 9 (two seats), 10, 12, 15, 20, 21, 22, and 33.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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