Idaho Politics

Idaho Politics

Brief History of the State of Idaho:

  • Idaho was created on the 3rd of July in 1890. It became the 43rd state of United States of America. It is positioned in the Pacific northwestern part of the country.

  • Idaho is ranked 14th in terms of its area. The largest city of the state is also its capital - Boise.

  • The governor plays an important role in politics of Idaho and serves a term of four years, after getting elected in the midterm elections. However, the governor is not elected in year when the elections for the President of the United States of America are in progress.

  • The states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and the Canadian Province of British Columbia are bordering states and surround it on all sides.

Political History of the State:

  • Republicans are more eminent in the politics of Idaho as compared to the Democrats because the Republican Party has by and large been the leading party in the political history of Idaho.

  • Ever since Idaho attained statehood, the Congressional delegations have rarely been Democrats. Quite a few Idahoan Democrats have seen electoral triumphs in the House. Nevertheless, the Senate delegation has always had a Republican iron grip for years especially on politics of Idaho.

  • The current Senator of Idaho, Mike Crapo and a number of Idaho Republican candidates have been triumphant in being re-elected to the Senate, excluding Frank Church who has been successful in re-election as a Democrat. This has made Church the very last Idahoan Democrat to be victorious in the U.S. Senate race.

  • Walt Minnick brought the 1st Democratic Congressional victory in 16 years in the year 2008 in Idaho which led to a notable change in politics of Idaho.

  • Since after World War II, a good number of statewide elected officials have been Republicans. The Democratic Party seized a majority by a single seat in the House of Representatives in 1958.

  • In contemporary times, politics in Idaho has been unfailingly dominated by Republicans in terms of presidential elections. Ever since 1964 the people of Idaho have not supported a Democratic candidate for the post of the President.

  • Even though Lyndon Johnson routed Barry Goldwater in the state of Idaho, the victory was less than two percent, if compared to the massive win nationally. George W. Bush holds the record in Idaho by winning by a margin of 38 percent i.e. 68.4% of the vote, in which he won in 43 out of 44 counties.

  • Ever since the 1976 elections, Barack Obama has had the best run in Idaho during the Presidential Elections with a 36.1% vote. Nevertheless, the margins had been narrower in the years of 1992 and 1996 for Republican candidates indicating a slight shift in politics of Idaho.

  • During the elections of 2006, the Republican candidate C. L. Otter succeeded in winning all the Idaho’s constitutional offices and kept hold of seats in the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, the Democratic candidates picked up more than a few seats in the Idaho Legislature, particularly in the Boise area.

  • Even though Republicans lost one of the House seats to Minnick, the Republican Jim Risch managed to hold on to Larry Craig's Senate seat for the GOP by an easy margin.

  • The state of Idaho was not always looked upon as conservative and traditional. This is supported by the fact that Idaho was the fourth American state to award the right to vote to women in the historic year of 1896.

Idaho is amongst the most dependable states for the Republicans in the United States of America.

Idaho Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 1948–2000

Year Electoral Vote Idaho Winner Democrat Republican
1948 4 *Truman (D) 107,370 101,514
1952 4 *Eisenhower (R) 395,081 180,707
1956 4 *Eisenhower (R) 105,868 166,979
1960 4 Nixon (R) 138,853 161,597
1964 4 *Johnson (D) 148,920 143,557
1968 4 *Nixon (R) 389,273 165,369
1972 4 *Nixon (R) 380,826 199,384
1976 4 Ford (R) 126,549 204,151
1980 4 *Reagan (R) 110,192 290,699
1984 4 *Reagan (R) 108,510 297,523
1988 4 *Bush (R) 147,272 253,881
1992** 4 Bush (R) 137,013 202,645
1996** 4 Dole (R) 165,443 256,595
2000 4 *Bush, G. W. (R) 138,637 336,937

List of Governors of Idaho

Governors of Idaho Territory

Governor Took Office Left Office Appointed by
William H. Wallace July 1863 December 1863 Abraham Lincoln
Caleb Lyon August 1, 1864 April 1866 Abraham Lincoln
David W. Ballard April 10, 1866 July 1870 Andrew Johnson
Samuel Bard Appointed March 30, 1870 Never took office Ulysses S. Grant
Gilman Marston Appointed June 7, 1870 Never took office Ulysses S. Grant
Alexander H. Conner Appointed January 12, 1871 Never took office Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas M. Bowen August 15, 1871 July 1871 Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas W. Bennett December 1871 December 4, 1875 Ulysses S. Grant
David P. Thompson April 1876 May 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
Mason Brayman July 1876 July 24, 1880 Ulysses S. Grant
John P. Hoyt Appointed August 7, 1878 Never took office Rutherford B. Hayes
John Baldwin Neil August 3, 1880 March 2, 1883 Rutherford B. Hayes
John N. Irwin April 1883 Dec 20, 1883 Chester A. Arthur
William M. Bunn June 26, 1884 July 3, 1885 Chester A. Arthur
Edward A. Stevenson September 29, 1885 April 1, 1889 Grover Cleveland
George Laird Shoup April 30, 1889 July 3, 1890 Benjamin Harrison

Governors of Idaho

# Governor Took Office Left Office Party Lt. Governor Terms
1 George Laird Shoup October 1, 1890 December 18, 1890 Republican N. B. Willey 1⁄2
2 N. B. Willey December 18, 1890 January 1, 1893 Republican John S. Gray 1⁄2
3 William J. McConnell January 1, 1893 January 4, 1897 Republican F. B. Willis 2
F. J. Mills
4 Frank Steunenberg January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901 Democratic George F. Moore
2
J. H. Hutchinson
5 Frank W. Hunt January 7, 1901 January 5, 1903 Democratic Thomas F. Terrell 1
6 John T. Morrison January 5, 1903 January 2, 1905 Republican James M. Stevens 1
7 Frank R. Gooding January 2, 1905 January 4, 1909 Republican Burpee L. Steeves 2
Ezra A. Burrell
8 James H. Brady January 4, 1909 January 2, 1911 Republican Lewis H. Sweetser 1
9 James H. Hawley January 2, 1911 January 6, 1913 Democratic Lewis H. Sweetser 1
10 John M. Haines January 6, 1913 January 4, 1915 Republican Herman H. Taylor 1
11 Moses Alexander January 4, 1915 January 6, 1919 Democratic Herman H. Taylor 2
Ernest L. Parker
12 D. W. Davis January 6, 1919 January 1, 1923 Republican Charles C. Moore 2
13 Charles C. Moore January 1, 1923 January 3, 1927 Republican H. C. Baldridge 2
14 H. C. Baldridge January 3, 1927 January 5, 1931 Republican O. E. Hailey 2
W. B. Kinne
O. E. Hailey
15 C. Ben Ross January 5, 1931 January 4, 1937 Democratic G. P. Mix 3
George E. Hill
G. P. Mix
16 Barzilla W. Clark January 4, 1937 January 2, 1939 Democratic Charles C. Gossett 1
17 C. A. Bottolfsen January 2, 1939 January 6, 1941 Republican Donald S. Whitehead 1
18 Chase A. Clark January 6, 1941 January 4, 1943 Democratic Charles C. Gossett 1
19 C. A. Bottolfsen January 4, 1943 January 1, 1945 Republican Edwin Nelson 1
20 Charles C. Gossett January 1, 1945 November 17, 1945 Democratic Arnold Williams 1⁄2
21 Arnold Williams November 17, 1945 January 6, 1947 Democratic A. R. McCabe 1⁄2
22 C. A. Robins January 6, 1947 January 1, 1951 Republican Donald S. Whitehead 1
23 Leonard B. Jordan January 1, 1951 January 3, 1955 Republican Edson H. Deal 1
24 Robert E. Smylie January 3, 1955 January 2, 1967 Republican J. Berkeley Larsen 3
W. E. Drevlow
25 Don Samuelson January 2, 1967 January 4, 1971 Republican Jack M. Murphy 1
26 Cecil D. Andrus January 4, 1971 January 24, 1977 Democratic Jack M. Murphy 11⁄2
John V. Evans
27 John V. Evans January 24, 1977 January 5, 1987 Democratic William J. Murphy 21⁄2
Phil Batt
David H. Leroy
28 Cecil D. Andrus January 5, 1987 January 2, 1995 Democratic C.L. "Butch" Otter 2
29 Phil Batt January 2, 1995 January 4, 1999 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter 1
30 Dirk Kempthorne January 4, 1999 May 26, 2006 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter 11⁄2
Jack Riggs
Jim Risch
31 Jim Risch May 26, 2006 January 1, 2007 Republican Mark Ricks 1⁄2
32 C.L. "Butch" Otter January 1, 2007 Incumbent Republican Jim Risch 1
Brad Little

Other High Offices Held

Name Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other Offices Held
House Senate
William H. Wallace 1863–1864     Territorial Delegate
Caleb Lyon 1864–1866     U.S. Representative from New York
Thomas M. Bowen 1871     U.S. Senator from Colorado
Thomas W. Bennett 1871–1875     Territorial Delegate
David P. Thompson 1875–1876     Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
George Laird Shoup 1889–1890   S  
William J. McConnell 1893–1897   S  
Frank R. Gooding 1905–1909   S  
James H. Brady 1909–1911   S  
Charles C. Gossett 1945   S  
Leonard B. Jordan 1951–1955   S  
Cecil D. Andrus 1971–1977
1987–1995
    U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Dirk Kempthorne 1999–2006   S U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Jim Risch 2006–2007   S  
C.L. "Butch" Otter 2007–present H    

Living Former Governors

Name Gubernatorial Term Date of Birth
Cecil D. Andrus 1971–1977,
1987–1995
August 25, 1931 (1931-08-25) (age 78)
John V. Evans 1977–1987 January 18, 1925 (1925-01-18) (age 85)
Phil Batt 1995–1999 March 4, 1927 (1927-03-04) (age 83)
Dirk Kempthorne 1999–2006 October 29, 1951 (1951-10-29) (age 58)
Jim Risch 2006–2007 May 3, 1943 (1943-05-03) (age 67)

List of United States Senators From Idaho

Class II

Senator Party Took Office Left office Reason Other Offices
George L. Shoup Republican December 18, 1890 March 4, 1901 Lost re-election Governor of Idaho (1890)
Governor of the Idaho Territory (1889–1890)
Fred Dubois Silver
Republican
March 4, 1901 March 4, 1907 Retired Idaho's Territorial Delegate (1887–1891)
Democratic
William Borah Republican March 4, 1907 January 19, 1940 Died Dean of the Senate
John W. Thomas Republican January 27, 1940 November 10, 1945 Died Also served in Idaho's Class III seat
Charles C. Gossett Democratic November 17, 1945 November 5, 1946 Lost nomination
for special election
Governor of Idaho (1945)
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho (1937–1939; 1941–1943)
Henry C. Dworshak Republican November 6, 1946 January 3, 1949 Lost re-election U.S. Representative (1939–1946)
Bert H. Miller Democratic January 3, 1949 October 8, 1949 Died Attorney General of Idaho (1933–1937; 1941–1945)
Henry C. Dworshak Republican October 14, 1949 July 23, 1962 Died U.S. Representative (1939–1946)
Leonard B. Jordan Republican August 6, 1962 January 3, 1973 Retired Governor of Idaho (1951–1955)
James A. McClure Republican January 3, 1973 January 3, 1991 Retired U.S. Representative (1967–1973)
Larry Craig Republican January 3, 1991 January 3, 2009 Retired U.S. Representative (1981–1991)
Jim Risch Republican January 3, 2009 Present Incumbent Governor of Idaho (2006–2007)
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho (2003–2006; 2007–2009)
Idaho Senate President pro tempore (1982–1989)
Idaho Senate Majority Leader (1976-1982)

Class III

Senator Party Took office Left Office Reason Other Offices
William J. McConnell Republican December 18, 1890 March 4, 1891 Retired Governor of Idaho (1893–1897)
Fred Dubois Republican March 4, 1891 March 4, 1897 Retired Idaho's Territorial Delegate (1887–1891; 1887–1890)
Silver
Republican
Henry Heitfeld Populist March 4, 1897 March 4, 1903 Retired  
Weldon B. Heyburn Republican March 4, 1903 October 17, 1912 Died  
Kirtland I. Perky Democratic November 18, 1912 February 5, 1913 Lost re-election  
James H. Brady Republican January 24, 1913 January 13, 1918 Died Governor of Idaho (1909–1911)
John F. Nugent Democratic January 22, 1918 January 14, 1921 Lost re-election  
Frank R. Gooding Republican January 15, 1921 June 24, 1928 Died Governor of Idaho (1905–1909)
John W. Thomas Republican June 30, 1928 March 4, 1933 Lost re-election  
James P. Pope Democratic March 4, 1933 January 3, 1939 Lost renomination  
David Worth Clark Democratic January 3, 1939 January 3, 1945 Lost renomination U.S. Representative (1935–1939)
Glen H. Taylor Democratic January 3, 1945 January 3, 1951 Lost renomination  
Herman Welker Republican January 3, 1951 January 3, 1957 Lost re-election  
Frank Church Democratic January 3, 1957 January 3, 1981 Lost re-election  
Steve Symms Republican January 3, 1981 January 3, 1993 Retired U.S. Representative (1973–1981)
Dirk Kempthorne Republican January 3, 1993 January 3, 1999 Retired United States Secretary of the Interior (2006–2009)
Governor of Idaho (1999–2006)
Mike Crapo Republican January 3, 1999 Present Incumbent U.S. Representative (1993–1999)