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Legislative contests in District 1 go from hot to not…

The northernmost legislative district in Idaho, District 1, saw some of the hottest election contests in the state in May's primary, with tea party challengers trying to knock off longtime Republican incumbents and lots of outside interests taking sides. But it's a different story in the general election contest this fall. Although Democratic challengers originally had filed to challenge all three GOP incumbents, two of the three have withdrawn their names from the ballot, and the third isn't actively campaigning.

“I had only filed as a placeholder,” said former Democratic Senate candidate Laura Bry of Sandpoint, adding that the idea was that she, or someone else, would run if the incumbent, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, lost in the primary. “Shawn won the primary, so there you go,” said Bry. “Most Democrats I meet are actually pretty happy with our representatives in the Legislature. They do a really good job of representing the legislative district.”

Former Democratic state Sen. Tim Tucker, who had filed to run against Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said he, too, was a placeholder. Andrew Sorg of Sandpoint is still on the ballot to challenge Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, but Sorg hasn't actively campaigned and didn't return a reporter's repeated phone and email messages. “Personally, I have to take it seriously - if his name is on the ballot, I'm going to have to run a race,” said Anderson, a four-term representative. “But my races are always pretty cordial anyway.”

Keough, an eighth-term senator and vice-chair of the Legislature's powerful joint budget committee, said, “I intend to still mount a campaign, albeit a lot less expensive one. I'm still going out and meeting and greeting and participating in the forums that I can make it to, because the campaign, really, is a time to reconnect with people and find out how you're doing.” She said, “I am humbled by what has occurred.” You can read my full Sunday column here.


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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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