The rematch between Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, and challenger Doug Ricks remains too close to call as of press time.
Ricks had a narrow lead of roughly 100 votes as of midnight, with several precincts in Madison County still yet to report.
Nate has served two terms in the Legislature since ousting Rep. Doug Hancey in the 2014 primary. Nate campaigned opposing Hancey’s support for creating Your Health Idaho, and found a winning issue in a year where the Legislature shifted sharply to the right.
During his time in the House, Nate has risen to become a prominent leader of the further-right portion of the Legislature, at times leading head-on fights with Speaker Scott Bedke. He says he has worked to stick to campaign promises to vote only in favor of legislation that’s moral, constitutional and in line with his economic principles.
Ricks nearly ousted Nate two years ago, losing a narrow election. That year, he principally attacked the number of nay votes Nate cast in the Legislature, saying he would support better governance through compromise. And he charged that many of Nate’s votes, including one opposing the creation of an agency to oversee school safety, didn’t match the values of the district.
When the two clashed in 2014, Nate eked out a narrow 167-vote victory.
There’s no Democrat in the race, so the winner is expected to assume the seat in the House next year.
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.