TWIN FALLS — Magic Valley representation in the state Senate will look largely the same as in years past, voters decided Tuesday.
Longtime Republican incumbents in Districts 24 and 25 held their seats against a wave of “liberty-minded” primary challengers who positioned themselves to the right of their powerful opponents and campaigned on a desire to “drain the swamp” in the Idaho statehouse.
Sen. Lee Heider of Twin Falls and Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls will each serve at least two more years in the legislature.
In District 23, incumbent Sen. Bert Brackett was ahead by a wide margin as of press time late Tuesday night.
Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, and Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, did not have primary opponents this year, but Republican Julie Lynn has filed to run against Stennett in the general election.
Sen. Bert Brackett earned 672 votes in Twin Falls County; his challenger, Mark Rhatigan of Mountain Home, earned 189.
Results were not available online for Elmore County or Owyhee County as of 11:40 p.m.
Brackett, a rancher from Rogerson, has served in the legislature since 2005, first for two terms in the House of Representatives. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Less is known about Rhatigan, who was Brackett’s first primary opponent since 2012. A Facebook page for his campaign described him as “liberty-minded,” a “Constitutionalist,” and “the Real Conservative.”
One of the livelier primary races this year saw incumbent Sen. Lee Heider, chair of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, go up against Jay S. Waters III, an automotive restoration worker from Twin Falls.
Heider ultimately came out on top, with 2,798 votes to Waters’s 1,283. This will be Heider’s fifth term in the Senate.
Waters said he decided to run after Heider refused to hold a hearing for a bill to legalize CBD oil during the 2018 legislative session.
“I think for 68 days I made a pretty big impact,” Waters said. “I think I’ll sit back and see where I want to go from here.”
District 25Sen. Jim Patrick, a farmer from Twin Falls, will keep his seat for another two years.
Patrick earned 3,316 votes, while his opponent, Terry Edwards of Jerome, earned 1,467.
Patrick was first elected to the legislature in 2006, serving three terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate. He is chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee.
Edwards, whose background is in the agriculture industry, described himself as more conservative than Patrick throughout his campaign, referring to current Magic Valley representation in the statehouse as “Republicans-In-Name-Only.”
“I respect my opponent even though we didn’t agree on a lot of issues,” Patrick said. “I think philosophically, maybe I fit the majority or I wouldn’t have won.”