Time to make the predictions on who will win the 2020 Idaho House races.
Alphabetical order is a funny thing sometimes. Okay, not really, but we went from House races in Hawaii, perhaps the most Democratic state in the country, to Idaho, one of the most Republican. We swing all the way to the other end of the spectrum with the Gem State, also having two US House races in 2020.
However, unlike Hawaii with the GOP, it’s not like Democrats NEVER win here. It’s just a rarity as of 2020. Also unlike Hawaii, which was never in any meaningful way a Republican state, Idaho has had periods of time in which Democrats won elections with relative frequency. Not one the presidential level, though, as Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to take the state. Sometime in the 1990s, the Democrats receded on the federal and state level and now Idaho is firm Republican ground.
As for Idaho’s two House seats, there has been just one two-year interruption of GOP control since the Newt Gingrich midterm wave of 1994. What will happen this year, you ask? We’ll advise below with our 2020 Idaho House races predictions.
US House Rating Scale
This is our chart showing how we rate the 2020 Idaho House races, sans tossups.
2020 Idaho House Races Current Prediction Summary: April 19
Current Idaho US House Map
The 1st District of Idaho was the seat that elected a Democrat in 2008, then tossed him back out in 2010. When Walt Minnick won the seat, he took down a controversial Republican incumbent who just barely won the seat himself in 2006. Nevertheless, the 2008 Democratic win was considered a surprise.1 Idaho went “back to normal” so to speak in 2010 when the Republicans reclaimed this district, and they have not faced a serious challenge since then. Russ Fulcher will not expect to face much resistance as he runs for a second term.
Mike Simpson has held this seat for a long time, first elected to the House in 1998. It so happens that 1998 was the sole time he faced a general election that gave him any difficulty. His re-elect percentages are not high enough that we would classify him as “very” safe, but this race is on nobody’s radar for good reason.
1: Idaho Press-Tribune Staff, “Minnick edges Sali in upset,” Idaho Press-Tribune, November 6, 2008, https://www.idahopress.com/news/minnick-edges-sali-in-upset/article_812aff31-f827-5b11-80f0-1ea9ce41054d.html/)