BOISE, Idaho (AP) — To win the Idaho Republican Party primary and secure his position as the favorite to retain the state's top job, Gov. Butch Otter had to overcome a challenge from the far right — and the far out — that had the state GOP calling for unity.
State Sen. Russ Fulcher came "surprisingly close" to defeating the two-term incumbent by courting conservative voters, says David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University.
The election — which gained national attention from a debate that featured longshot candidates who discussed Armageddon and bigoted jokes — was one of several that showed deep the rifts in the state's Republican Party.
All but one of the five mainstream GOP legislative candidates endorsed by Otter lost to conservatives.