Well, 92 percent of the vote has been counted now – 871 of 942 precincts statewide. But Kootenai County races are still missing in action, with only 16 percent of the vote there counted, so those results are still up in the air for now; I’ll check back in the morning. Statewide, incumbent Gov. Butch Otter – who never emerged from behind closed doors to talk to the public at all tonight – leads GOP challenger Russ Fulcher, 52 percent to 43 percent. Harley Brown had 3.3 percent and Walt Bayes, 1.8 percent.
The slate of tea party challengers to sitting GOP state officials all were falling short. Two four-way races for open seats, however, were still up in the air. For state superintendent of schools, in the GOP primary, Sherri Ybarra led with 29.1 percent, followed by Randy Jensen, 24.6 percent; Andy Grover, 23.5 percent; and John Eynon, 22.8 percent. In the GOP primary for Secretary of State, Lawerence Denney led with 36.2 percent, followed by Phil McGrane, 27.8 percent; Evan Frasure, 19.7 percent; and Mitch Toryanski, 16.3 percent.
Legislative incumbents who appear to be losing in the primary include Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, who had 34.2 percent to challenger Merrill Beyeler’s 44.6 percent; and Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, who had 44.4 percent to GOP challenger Abby Lee’s 55.6 percent. Freshman Rep. Douglas Hancey was trailing challenger Ron Nate in District 34, 44.7 percent to 55.3 percent.