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Eye On Boise

Three longtime District 1 incumbents draw tea party challengers

A trio of tea party sympathizers is challenging three longtime GOP incumbents in North Idaho's legislative District 1, as Idaho gears up for its first-ever closed Republican primary this year. Pam Stout, president of the area's Tea Party Patriots group, is challenging Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, who's seeking a seventh term in the state House. She's made a splash with her tea party involvement in the past two years, appearing on the David Letterman show and being interviewed by the New York Times, though this is her first run for office.

Stout said she'd considered challenging eight-term Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, but when her friend and fellow tea party activist Danielle Ahrens wanted to run against Keough, “I said, 'If you want to run against Shawn, I'll run against George.” While Ahrens is running against Keough, Donna Capurso, a real estate broker and Boundary County Republican Central Committee chair, is challenging Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake.

Candidate filing doesn't open for another five weeks, but all three challengers have filed initial paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State to begin fundraising for their campaigns. Jim Weatherby, Boise State University political scientist emeritus, said Idaho could well see more such races around the state. “Ideology, I think, will be a major feature in a lot of races, given the closed primary,” he said. “And that was really the purpose … to purify the party.” You can read my full story here from Sunday's Spokesman-Review.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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