IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The primary election takes place on Tuesday, May 17, and could actually decide who will be in power next year.
Here are the races we think are the top eight races to watch on Tuesday.
Number 1: Governor
It’s probably one of the most controversial races in the state.
Overall, eight candidates are running for the job, but the two to watch, of course, are current Gov. Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.
McGeachin hopes her endorsement of former President Donald Trump will help her, but some voters are worried about her appearances with white nationalists and others some of her other activities could hurt her.
Governor Little touts his record over the past four years and how he secured increased education funding, teacher salaries and tax cuts, but some voters are unhappy with how he has managed the pandemic.
Ed Humphreys could be a contender if someone doesn’t like the other two.
He worked hard to draw attention to himself, saying he would put principles above politics.
Number 2: Lieutenant Governor
Who will replace McGeachin?
House Speaker Scott Bedke confronts State Rep. Priscilla Giddings and Daniel Gasiorowski.
Bedke has been a member of the Idaho house since 2001 and Giddings since 2016.
Gasiorowski is new to the political scene.
The thing to watch out for here is who might be working with the governor?
Bedke and Governor Little appear to be on the same page, and Giddings and McGeachin have teamed up on many strategies together.
Number 3: State Superintendent
Superintendent Sherri Ybarra is seeking her third term.
She is being challenged by former State Board of Education Chair Debbie Critchfield and former Democratic lawmaker Branden Durst.
It will be interesting to watch and see if Ybarra can retain his seat against Critchfield, who appear to be the stronger of the two challengers when it comes to publicity.
Number 4: Attorney General
Incumbent Lawrence Wasden is challenged by former U.S. Representative Raul Labrador and Coeur d’Alene attorney Art Macomber.
It could be tight as Labrador is well known and political action committees have spoken out strongly against Attorney General Wasden.
Wasden served 20 years as attorney general, the longest in Idaho history.
Number 5: Secretary of State
Three candidates are eyeing the job: Stanley Legislator Dorothy Moon, Couer d’Alene Sen. Mary Souza and Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.
The Secretary of State administers state elections as well as the registration of business entities.
This is a hot topic with lawmakers.
Moon and Souza have been candid about how the election is handled while McGrane was the only candidate to actually run an election.
It will be interesting to see who voters choose.
Number 6: US Congressional District 2
Will Mike Simpson be able to keep his seat in the US House of Representatives?
Since presenting a plan to save the salmon population and proposing to remove four dams on the lower Snake River, Simpson has been rebuffed by several of his fellow Republicans.
Four people are running against him.
His closest competitor is Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith.
Smith also has his challenges.
He holds a leadership position with the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, which just lost a case against the state’s GOP committee for violating election law.
Number 7: Idaho Rep 34B
We’ll see who Madison County voters think should represent them in the Idaho House.
You could call it a rematch between the two candidates from District 34B.
This time, State Rep. Ron Nate is challenged by former State Rep. Britt Raybould whom Nate defeated two years ago by less than 300 votes thanks to Bonneville County voters.
But with the redistricting, Bonneville County is no longer part of District 34 and only includes Madison County voters.
Nate is known for his far-right voting record in the legislature.
Number 8: Idaho Rep 35B
Another state legislator known for his far-right votes is vying for a spot in House 35B seat.
Ammon Rep. Chad Christensen clashes with Ammon Councilman Josh Wheeler.
In the last election, Christensen did well in outlying counties but did poorly in Bonneville County.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers move now that Onieda and Franklin counties are no longer in this district.
Of course, there are more races to watch.
We’ll be live Tuesday night as the numbers roll in, and we’ll have a few guests with us to help analyze the results. We will also have live results here.