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BOISE – In the hard-fought GOP primary races in North Idaho’s Legislative District 2, campaign finance reports show that challengers have outraised two of the three incumbents, including tax-protesting Rep. Phil Hart. Hart has raised $6,738 for his campaign, while challenger Ed Morse has raised more than twice as much – $16,479 – and challenger Fritz Wiedenhoff has raised $7,748. That GOP primary also includes Ron Vieselmeyer, who trails with $3,791. Hart also reported a $31,827 outstanding debt to himself.
Tax-protesting state Rep. Phil Hart may be the most controversial lawmaker in North Idaho, and his re-election bid for a fifth term in the state House has drawn a bevy of challengers in the May 15 GOP primary. It’s a far cry from the last election, in which Hart was unopposed both in the primary and on the general election ballot. But an unprecedented 20 percent of the vote went to a write-in challenger in the general election in 2010, after news broke about Hart’s court fights over back taxes and a 1996 timber theft case. He subsequently lost his seat on the House tax committee and gave up a vice chairmanship on the Transportation Committee to avoid House ethics sanctions.