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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Dems have lost two House seats in Lewiston and one in Pocatello; several other races still undetermined

With results from several Idaho counties still missing – including Latah, most of Kootenai and Bonner, and part of Canyon – here’s what we know so far about changes in the Idaho Legislature:

If Nez Perce County’s unofficial results posted on its county website are correct, Democrats have lost two seats in District 6, those held by House Minority Leader John Rusche and retiring Rep. Dan Rudolph, with Republicans Mike Kingsley and Thyra Stevenson the winners. That district also includes rural Lewis County, which appears to be following a similar trend.

There were no upsets in Ada County, where Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, held off a repeat challenge from Democrat Steve Berch by just 293 votes – 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.

In District 29 in Pocatello, the Democrats lost a House seat. The seat formerly held by Rep. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello, who won his race for the Senate (48-45 over Republican Tom Katsilometes, cousin of the longtime Democratic official there by the same name), went to Republican Dustin Manwaring, who defeated Democrat David Maguire, 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent. Both candidates – in fact, all four of them – are attorneys.

In District 26 in Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties, the party balance stayed the same, with Rep. Steve Miller, R-Fairfield, apparently eking out a close win over Democratic challenger Kathleen Eder; and Democrat Sally Toone easily defeating Republican Alex Sutter for the seat formerly held by retiring Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding.

Still unknown: What’s happening in District 1, where Republican Heather Scott faced a stiff challenge from local Chamber of Commerce President Kate McAlister, a Democrat; early results showed Scott with the edge. And Kootenai County results remained up in the air, with just 3 of 73 precincts counted; as did Latah County’s, with no numbers reported to the Secretary of State. The lack of any Latah County numbers leaves the results in question for all three District 5 races.

On its website, Latah County reports that with 30 of 33 precincts counted, all three incumbents were leading – Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer; and Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee. But it’s the combination of Latah and Benewah county results, once final, that will determine the final outcome.

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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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