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About this race

Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, an attorney, rancher, former longtime state senator and briefly Idaho’s governor, is seeking a second term. He’s largely ignored his Democratic challenger, Boise attorney Nels Mitchell, agreeing to only one debate on a Boise TV station.

U.S. Senate

794
Candidate Votes Pct
Jim Risch (R) 285,256 65.29%
Nels Mitchell (D) 151,662 34.71%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.


Related coverage

Huckleberries: Craig’s new GOP job prompts potshot

Wonkette, the left-leaning online mag, said the selection of former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig to be finance chair for the Idaho Republican Party is “an inspiring holiday story of forgiveness and redemption.” Wonkette, of course, was being sarcastic. In a recent article, Wonkette’s Doctor Zoom continued: “It’s heartening to know that even after Craig was arrested in 2007 and charged with soliciting sex in a bathroom stall in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, then ordered to pay the Treasury Department roughly $242,000 after using campaign funds to cover his legal defense, Idaho Republicans are still willing to give Sen. Widestance a second chance.”


Risch blasts release of CIA interrogation report as ‘unconscionable’

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, both Republicans who serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a joint statement today blasting the release today of a report on the CIA’s detention program that questions the agency’s claims on the effectiveness of harsh…


Eye on Boise: Capitol seeks to meet disabilities act with upgrades

Idaho’s state Capitol is due for $400,000 in accessibility upgrades, to bring the renovated historic structure in line with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They range from new wheelchair-accessible seating areas in the fourth-floor public galleries of the House and Senate, to improved ramps and handrails in various locations, to new signs.


Mitchell on race with Risch: ‘It’s a great state, and hopefully we’ll change the politics’

The Associated Press has called Idaho’s U.S. Senate race for Republican incumbent Jim Risch, based on the early results; at this point, with 19 percent of the vote counted, Risch had 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent for Democratic challenger Nels Mitchell. Mitchell, who was with…


Risch, Mitchell vie for U.S. Senate in Idaho

When he was Idaho’s governor for a scant seven months, Jim Risch was a whirlwind of activity, writing an unprecedented management plan for roadless areas, reforming the state Department of Health and Welfare and nursing education programs, and calling a special session of the Legislature…


Risch, Mitchell vie for U.S. Senate in Idaho

BOISE – When he was Idaho’s governor for a scant seven months, Jim Risch was a whirlwind of activity, writing an unprecedented management plan for roadless areas, reforming the state Department of Health and Welfare and nursing education programs, and calling a special session of the Legislature to enact a sweeping and controversial shift of the state’s school funding system, raising the sales tax while lowering property taxes. But in the past six years serving as Idaho’s junior senator in Washington, D.C., Risch’s legislative accomplishments have been slim. According to the official records of Congress, he’s been the lead sponsor on 11 bills, just two of which have become law, both dealing with specific, small water projects in Southern Idaho. In the current Congress, he’s co-sponsored 188 bills, with the largest group aimed at reducing environmental regulations. In the 90 votes he has cast in the Senate since June, he voted “no” nearly two-thirds of the time.


In rare snub, Risch refused to shake Mitchell’s hand before the two debated this week…

Before the only debate between Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and his Democratic challenger Nels Mitchell this week, Mitchell tried to shake Risch’s hand, but Risch refused and turned away. “I was surprised,” Mitchell said afterward; so were onlookers. At the end of the debate, with…


Jim Risch, Nels Mitchell clash in sole debate of Senate race

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, in the sole debate of his re-election campaign, ripped Democratic challenger Nels Mitchell as a clone of President Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and suggested he’d actually represent California. Mitchell decried the “shrill partisanship” of today’s Washington, D.C., and…


Senate votes to back Obama on Syria; Risch, Crapo both vote ‘no’

The U.S. Senate has voted 78-22 in favor of President Obama’s plan for the U.S. military to train and equip Syrian rebels for a war against Islamic state militants. Like yesterday’s 273-156 House vote, support for the president’s plan was bipartisan - but both Idaho’s…


Series of Idaho candidate debates scheduled

BOISE – A full slate of political debates stretches before Idaho voters who are mulling decisions on every statewide office in November. The “Idaho Debates,” a tradition of more than three decades, will feature seven debates broadcast live statewide on Idaho Public Television, co-sponsored by the Idaho Press Club and the League of Women Voters of Idaho.


Huckleberries: Senate candidate caught in Sandpoint high-speed chase

Nels Mitchell, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s seat, didn’t know what to do when he was caught in the middle of a high-speed chase on Long Bridge in Sandpoint last Sunday. Nels, who was campaigning in North Idaho at the time, was enjoying a morning walk when 15-year-old Kamil Stuchlik, of Kailua, Hawaii, roared past him in an SUV with Bonner County deputies pursuing. “I didn’t know whether to jump in the lake (Pend Oreille) or not,” Nels told Huckleberries. “It was like something out of the movies.” Officers used a spike strip at the northern end of Long Bridge and a patrol car to finally stop Stuchlik. Who’s in a whole lot of trouble now. Teen heart throb


Risch: Cut off all U.S. funds to Iran until Abedini is released

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch today told the U.S. State Department’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman that the United States should cut off all funds to Iran until Idaho Pastor Saeed Abedini and two other Americans who are imprisoned in Iran are released. Abedini, of…


Idaho senators torn on Bowe Bergdahl swap

BOISE – Idaho senators who have pushed for years for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan are in the odd position of objecting to the deal that bought Bergdahl’s freedom and joyfully welcoming his return. “He needed to be released, but not at this price,” Sen. Jim Risch said Thursday, aiming sharp criticism at the Obama administration over the release of five high-ranking Taliban officials held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in exchange for Bergdahl. “The price that was paid was too high. Those five people are people that have a lot of blood on their hands.”


Idaho senators torn over deal that brought long-sought release of Idaho soldier

Idaho senators who have pushed for years for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan are now in the odd position of both objecting to the deal that bought Bergdahl’s freedom, and joyfully welcoming his return. “He needed to be released, but…


New Yorker runs for Idaho Senate again; also files in Alaska, Oregon

BOISE – A Brooklyn, N.Y., attorney who’s never been to Idaho is not only running for a U.S. Senate seat from the state for the second time, he’s also running for Senate seats in Alaska and Oregon. “I’m just making myself available to the people of more than one state,” William Bryk said. “The voters have not yet taken advantage of the opportunity to retain my services, but one lives in hope.”


Lochsa land swap opposed by Forest Service retirees

A U.S. Forest Service land exchange that failed to win public support during years of study and hearings shouldn’t get pushed through Congress by Idaho’s delegation, a group of retired Forest Service employees says. Two dozen retirees sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last month expressing misgivings about the Upper Lochsa exchange.


Risch: ‘They look at you like you got three heads’

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are addressing the Senate and House today, and the two – both of whom are former Senate presidents pro-tem – entered the Senate chamber together, rather than separately. “It’s really an honor to be here today, although my…


Mitchell Assails ‘Senator No’ Risch

U.S. Senate candidate Nels Mitchell said today he’s not surprised Jim Risch is touting his dubious achievement as the most obstructionist senator in Washington. “He’s running away from his record,” Mitchell said. “Risch has turned into ‘Senator No,’ and his negativism is hurting Idaho,” Mitchell…


Risch: Jeers To Extremist Risch

In his latest Cheers & Jeefs column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune offers jeers to U.S. Sen. Jim Risch: First, Congressional Quarterly Magazine ranked him President Obama’s No. 1 adversary in the Senate. Risch has voted against the president 73.3 percent of the time…


Crapo, Risch sponsor bill to make state concealed-gun permits valid in other states

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are co-sponsoring legislation to let those with a state concealed gun permit carry a concealed weapon in other states, too, as long at the state they’re in allows or doesn’t prohibit concealed carrying of firearms. “Idahoans and law-abiding…