BOISE – A rare contested race for an open seat on the Idaho Supreme Court appears to be headed for a runoff in November, as none of the four hopefuls was polling over 50 percent in early returns Tuesday night – though Rupert attorney Robyn Brody was clearly out in front, with the other three neck-and-neck.
If the trend holds, Idaho voters will decide in November between Brody, who had 31.3 percent of the vote with just over half of precincts tallied, and one of the other three: Seven-term state Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa; Clive Strong, longtime chief of the Natural Resources Division for the Idaho Attorney General’s office; and Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Sergio Gutierrez.
Asked about the early results, Brody, who is making her first run for office, said, “I’ll put my faith in the people any day of the week, and for me, it’s just an affirmation of everything I’ve been doing for the last two months – reaching out to people, talking to people about what’s important.”
The race is nonpartisan, but McKenzie reached out almost exclusively to Republican Party voters in advance of Tuesday’s election. While the nonpartisan Supreme Court race topped the ticket, it was Idaho’s primary election, with the vast majority of those voting registered Republicans. The party dominates Idaho politics, holding every statewide partisan office and the entire congressional delegation.
Brody’s campaign far outstripped the three others in fundraising, drawing more than $177,000 in contributions, including many from other attorneys. Idaho is one of just two states in the nation with no women or people of color on its Supreme Court; no woman has served for nearly a decade.
Strong collected more than 200 endorsements from an array of prominent Idahoans, including former governors of both parties, business and education leaders and elected officials. He raised nearly $50,000 for his campaign and was the only one of the four to run TV ads. He was a finalist for appointment to a vacancy on the Idaho Supreme Court in 2007.
Gutierrez, Idaho’s first and only Latino judge, stressed his campaign for access for all to Idaho courts, which he’s pushed throughout his career. He’s served on the state’s second-highest court since 2002 and been a judge since 1993.
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