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When the primary becomes a purge

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When the primary becomes a purge

Tuesday legislative primaries were a purge.

Twenty incumbent Republicans have lost – or will lose, depending on possible lists.

Senate President Protem Chuck Winder drops the hammer at the 2022 legislative session. If the 2023 legislature meets, at least 42 of the 105 lawmakers will be new to the office, and the Senate could shift sharply to the right.

The purge took place without a special scheme. Several key moderates lost both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. So did several vocal fans of House’s tough line. And part of the outflow was inevitable – the result of primaries caused by redistribution.

All this leads to a huge turnover. Troubles in the committees that shape education policy. A much more conservative Senate is perhaps closer to the House of Representatives.

And two main questions: who are these new people? And what are they going to do? For starters, this question requires some self-reflection.

“You need to find out what your policy is, № 1, if bills are actually being introduced,” said spokeswoman Wendy Horman, Idaho Falls.

In numbers: another step in extreme transformation

Even before the purge on Tuesday, the legislature was undergoing major repairs. Several powerful lawmakers have announced their retirement – 22-year-old Senator Patti Ann Lodge, chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee; MP Rick Youngblad, co-chair of the House of Representatives of the Joint Budget Writing Committee; and Senate minority leader Michelle Stannet, among others.

Three more lawmakers have resigned from seats in the legislature to run for state positions.

The change of territories – once a decade the process of redrawing the legal boundaries to take into account new census estimates – has also put some leaders at odds.

Then, in addition to everything, came Tuesday.

Put everything together, and in January at least 42 new legislators will come to office – two-fifths of the legislature. And this is provided that in November, additional incumbents will not lose.

Loud losses

Senator Stephen Thein, R-Emmett

These figures tell only part of the story.

Lawmakers ousted on Tuesday – with nearly 140 years of experience at the Statehouse – include some serious attackers on education and budget policies:

  • Senate Education Committee Chairman Stephen Thein of Emmett, a 16-year veteran of the Statehouse, lost to one incumbent Sen. S. Scott Grow, R-Eagle.
  • Conservative contenders have ousted two moderates who served in the Senate Education and JFAC: Jim Woodward of Segal and Carl Crabtree of Grangeville.
  • Canyon County voters expelled Jeff Agenbrod from Nampa, co-chair of the JFAC Senate.
  • Vice-Chair of the House Education Committee, New Plymouth Republican Ryan Kerby, a retired school superintendent, lost in his application for a fifth two-year term.

Some legislative outflow is inevitable. And this legislative primaries, interspersed with high-profile matches, was destined to be great. But some disorders – such as the loss of Kerby and the loss of Agenbrod – seemed to arise out of nowhere.

Fight for key positions in committees, management positions

Turnover will hit education in the Senate hard. Four of the nine committee members lost on Tuesday: Thane, Woodward, Crabtry and Senator Robert Blair, R. Kendrick, is scheduled to attend the 2022 session.

But even more remarkable is the outflow to the JFAC, the most powerful committee of the legislature. Seven JFAC Republicans lost on Tuesday. Factor to retire, and beginners fill at least 11 of the 20 JFAC seats.

Because the JFAC has the power to write budgets – not just for education, but for all government agencies – the tasks of its committees are desirable. But it is also a process-oriented technical committee that prefers experience. While some lawmakers may well take a fresh look at the fight for a seat in the JFAC, there are also not many budget authors who are willing to climb the ladder of leaders.

Representative Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls

“The bench has been cleared,” said Horman, a JFAC veteran who authored an education budget. Having passed without opposition, Horman had the luxury of watching the chaos on Tuesday from the side.

With so many remnants – Horman and Grove on JFAC’s shortlist of veterans – it’s hard to say who will run the committee. But there will also be a struggle for other chairman positions. Who holds Thein’s position in Senate education? Who is in charge of the Lodge, which is responsible for the state affairs of the Senate? Who replaces Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Martin of Boise and Local Government and Taxation Committee Chairman Jim Rice of Caldwell, two other incumbents affected by Tuesday’s ouster?

And for legislators with high aspirations, vying for leadership positions decided at closed party meetings after the November elections?

Leadership elections – often reduced to personal commitment and horse trading – are usually difficult to prevent under normal circumstances. Turnover is another big wild card.

Keep this in mind: in 2012, Republicans in the House of Representatives did something rare. They overthrew Speaker Lawrence Danny and elected Scott Bedke in his place.

This internal vote came after the district’s redistribution process ten years ago and the election, which included 30 new members of the House of Representatives, including Horman.

In 2022, there will be at least 31 new members of the House of Representatives.

Changing the balance of power – especially in the Senate

The primaries brought together several old bills on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Proponents of the tough line ousted at least one opponent of the House of Representatives: MP Paul Amador, R. Coeur d’Alena, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Issues and Means, and the incarnation of the committee that considered the Conservatives’ pet bills. In the same way, moderates have nominated some of the most vocal supporters of the House of Representatives hardline, in particular Ron Nate MP R-Rexburg, who spent most of the 2022 session tickling Amador on the House floor, demanding a vote to abolish the food tax. to ways and means.

That said, it’s hard to say whether the 2023 House model will be more conservative, more moderate, or more similar.

The Senate is a completely different story. On Tuesday, the Senate moved clearly and quickly to the right.

A long list of tolerant Republicans received boots: Woodward, Crabtree, Ejenbrod and Martin, among others. Three Conservatives in the House of Representatives – Cody Galloway of Boyce, Ben Adams of Nampa and Tammy Nichols of Middleton – may be on their way to the Senate.

For many years the rotunda and the great ideological gap separated the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate has long acted as a buffer, blocking laws passed with a hot button from the House of Representatives, and overwhelmingly covering budgets that have struggled to pass the House of Representatives.

All this may change, to the disappointment of the minority leader in the House of Representatives Ilana Rubel.

Leader of the Minority Chamber Ilana Rubel, D-Boys

“I think the days of the Senate as a defensive spy … are over,” Rubel, D. Boyce, said. “We’ve lost so many ruling Republicans.”

And in the end, she said, the outflow in the legislature could even overcome the results of the gubernatorial primaries that took place on Tuesday, when Republicans overwhelmingly elected incumbent President Brad Little from a number of conservative enemies. “After all, the governor still has to get these things through JFAC.”

But Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, who endured a serious major Republican challenge on his own Tuesday, is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We will lack some experience and institutional knowledge,” Winder Jennifer Swindel of Idaho told EdNews on Wednesday. “Several people called me and asked what I would do. I told them to give me a chance to think about it. “

Kevin Richert writes a weekly analysis of education policy and educational policy. This week he is writing the next two articles on the 2022 primary. On Thursday, Richert will take a closer look at the split in the Republican primaries.

Kevin Richard

About Kevin Richard

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent visitor to KIVI 6 On Your Side; Idaho Reports on Idaho Public Television; and “Idaho Matters” on State Public Radio Boise. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. You can contact him at [email protected]

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