Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo appears headed easily to a fourth six-year term in the Senate – the first Idaho senator to win a fourth term since famed Democrat Frank Church in 1974.
In early returns Tuesday he was leading with 64 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Boise attorney Jerry Sturgill, the Democratic challenger.
Crapo told a cheering crowd at the Idaho GOP election night watch party, “I came tonight anxious – anxious about my own race, anxious about the presidential race, anxious about our ability to maintain control of the Senate. The votes are not all counted yet. And I’m one of those who likes to wait and see. … I don’t want to jinx anything, but it is looking good.”
After a huge cheer, he added, “It’s looking really good.”
Crapo, who’s quietly made his mark in Washington, D.C., as a conservative willing to reach across the aisle on issues like wilderness and domestic violence, faced challenges in his re-election bid from Sturgill as well as Constitution Party candidate Ray Writz of Coeur d’Alene.
A DUI conviction in 2013 surprised Idahoans who knew him as a teetotaling member of the Mormon Church, but Crapo apologized, moved on and ran unopposed for re-election in the GOP primary this year.
More than the DUI, Crapo’s changing positions on Donald Trump drew attention during the campaign. He first endorsed Trump; then withdrew his endorsement and called for Trump to step aside as the GOP nominee after revelations of Trump’s boasts about sexually assaulting women; then announced that he’d vote for Trump after all.
Sturgill, who tried to make a case that Washington, D.C. has changed Crapo in the decades he’s served there – he served three terms in the U.S. House before moving to the Senate – had the best showing of any Crapo challenger in more than two decades.
Crapo has been among Idaho’s top vote-getters for years; in 2004, he actually ran unopposed, but for a write-in, for re-election to the Senate, receiving 99.2 percent of the vote. In 2010, he took 71.2 percent of the vote.
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