TWIN FALLS — A mix of old and new faces will represent the Magic Valley in the Idaho state legislature next year.
In an election year where incumbent candidates faced an atypically high number of primary challengers, some for the first time in years, all of the incumbents had won or were ahead as of late Tuesday night.
Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer and Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, will serve their districts for another two years. Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, was ahead of her opponent at press time late Tuesday night.
Two new faces will fill the seats left open by the retirement of Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, and Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls.
Laurie Lickley, one of three Republicans who ran for Bell’s seat, will take over seat 25A. Hartgen’s wife, Linda Wright Hartgen, will face Democrat Deborah Silver in the general election for seat 24B.
The two incumbent House candidates in District 26, Rep. Steve Miller, R-Fairfield, and Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, did not have primary challengers, though each will face an opponent in the general election.
Other Magic Valley legislators running unopposed in both the primary and general election are Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, and Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.
As of 11:40 p.m. Tuesday night, incumbent Rep. Christy Zito was leading challenger Oscar Evans by a wide margin in at least one county in District 23.
Election results were not available online in Elmore County or Owyhee County, but Zito defeated Evans 567 to 282 in Twin Falls County.
The retirement of Rep. Stephen Hartgen, former publisher of the Times-News, left House Seat 24B vacant.
Now another Hartgen is one step closer to filling it: his wife, Linda Wright Hartgen.
Hartgen brought in 2,484 votes, defeating her opponent, Rocky Ferrenburg, who earned 1,509. She’ll face Democrat Deborah Silver in the general election.
“I felt like I ran a good race, and there was no mudslinging or anything like that,” Hartgen said, adding that she is looking forward to working on health care and education if she wins the general election.
Hartgen previously served as the Twin Falls county clerk and trial court administrator for the 5th Judicial District.
Lickley, a rancher from Jerome, will take over the seat currently held by retiring Rep. Maxine Bell.
Three Republicans made bids for House seat A: Lickley, B. Roy Prescott, a rancher from Jerome, and Glenneda Zuiderveld, a small business owner from Jerome.
Lickley earned 2,531 votes, Prescott earned 1,299 votes and Zuiderveld earned 1,237 votes
“I’m very humbled by the outpouring of support for this campaign, and we will continue to focus on stronger roots, stronger families and stronger communities,” Lickley said. “I’m looking forward to working with our entire constituency across the Magic Valley and building on Idaho’s amazing legacy.”
Rep. Clark Kauffman, incumbent candidate for House seat B, will keep his seat. Kauffman brought in 3,147 votes; his challenger, Lyle Johnstone, got 1,606.
Kauffman, a farmer from Filer, has served three terms in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, will hold his House 27B seat for another two years. Wood earned 4,049 votes; his opponent, Kevin Williams of Elba, earned 1,505.
Wood is a retired physician who serves as chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee. He has served six terms in the legislature.