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Mike Simpson, Bryan Smith will vie for seat to represent Idaho’s 2nd congressional district

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BOISE — U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, will run for re-election in 2022, according to campaign strategist Sarah Nelson. He’ll run against a familiar opponent in Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith, who announced his candidacy on Saturday.

Nelson confirmed the information by email on Monday. If he is re-elected, it would be Simpson’s 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith debates U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson at Canyon Ridge High School on April 25, 2014 in Twin Falls.

Simpson serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies subcommittee, and is the ranking member for the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. The committees oversee funding for several large Idaho programs, including the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. National Park Service, according to Simpson’s website.

Simpson has been a dissenting vote in Idaho’s congressional delegation on several major issues in the past two years, including his vote as one of 35 Republicans who joined Democrats to approve the legislation that established the commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, when protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

Idaho Falls lawyer Bryan Smith has announced he will challenge Simpson in the Republican primary for the seat. Smith is the vice chairman of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, which recently announced a vote of no confidence in Simpson.

Smith wrote one of the reasons for the no confidence vote was because of Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative plan announced in February that would breach four lower Snake River hydroelectric dams in an effort to save endangered and threatened salmon. Smith has criticized the $33 billion price tag of the plan and said he has sided with environmentalists on the issue without clear evidence the measures would restore salmon runs in Idaho.

Smith is also vice chairman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s board of directors. Simpson previously beat Smith in the GOP primary for the position in 2014.

According to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, Khloe Briglio Buzzell, unaffiliated, and Matthew Sather, a Republican, have also appointed treasurers for Idaho’s second congressional seat.

The primary election is scheduled to take place May 17.

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