Latest News on State, District, County Races & Issues

Updated and current news from media, political parties, candidates and election officials

Citing staffing issues and political climate, North Idaho hospital will no longer deliver babies


Idaho’s Bonner General Health, the only hospital in Sandpoint, announced Friday afternoon that it will no longer provide obstetrical services to the city of more than 9,000 people, meaning patients will have to drive 46 miles for labor and delivery care moving forward.

The hospital’s board of directors and senior leadership called the decision an emotional and difficult one in the press release, and cited a loss of pediatricians, changing demographics and Idaho’s legal and political climate around health care as the reasons for the decision.

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

The MAGA-fication of North Idaho College

By Charles Homans March 6, 2023

The troubles culminated last month in a letter from the regional higher education commission, which warned that the 90-year-old college could be stripped of its accreditation if changes were not made in a matter of weeks — an effective threat of closure –  potential catastrophe for Coeur d’Alene, a town of 56,000 in the Idaho Panhandle. The college is the sixth-largest employer in Kootenai County and a source of skilled labor for much of the local economy.

Read in the New York Times

Records show powerful, wealthy funders outside Idaho back school choice campaign

BY:  – FEBRUARY 3, 2023

The national special interests groups who have poured millions of dollars into efforts to make education savings account programs a reality in states like ArizonaUtahWyomingWisconsin and New Hampshire are the same donors who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars during Idaho’s midterm election to ensure school choice-friendly legislators occupied as many seats as possible in the Idaho Legislature, records show.

  • Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay received $21,310
  • On his campaign website, Dixon wrote it is necessary to make all forms of education available in Idaho, including public, private, charter, online and homeschool, and that money should follow the child wherever they are receiving their education. 

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

The Wisconsin public schools story: A cautionary tale for Idaho

By Rd Gramer

The bottom line is local property taxpayers in Wisconsin are paying the price to provide subsidies for families who send their kids to private and religious schools in Milwaukee, Madison and Racine.

 If the advocates of school privatization get their way, Idaho taxpayers will end up supporting three new school systems – private, religious, and home schools. 

Reading and math scores in private and religious schools were no better than scores in Milwaukee public schools, he wrote.

At first there were only 499 students going to private and religious schools at taxpayers’ expense with a cost of $3.2 million. By 2021 there were 11,740 students receiving taxpayer-supported subsidies to attend private and religious schools at a cost to the state of $99.2 million. Meanwhile, state support for the public-school districts impacted by the program was cut by $139.5 million this fiscal year, according to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau. 

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

Opinion: Voted no once, will vote no again

Read about the proposed rule change that would suppress the vote in the Republican primary.


“If passed, it will control both who runs as a Republican candidate and who votes as a Republican. When did democracy say that the party leadership chooses the candidate? When in our nation’s history has one’s previous political affiliations determined our future affiliations? What happened to “one person, one vote” representation? 

One of our best and well-known freedoms is that anyone, you, me or our neighbor can choose to run for an elected office via a simple registration process. Paying a fee or collecting petition signatures will place your name on the ballot. Winning is not and never has been guaranteed; but the right to run and the right to register for whichever party we choose should be a right that is not infringed upon by any level of upper government.”

Read in Idaho State Journal


Poll: Many Idaho voters unfamiliar with 'school choice" policy debate

“School choice is a debate over funding for public education. It often includes discussion of programs such as vouchers or education savings accounts that would allow families to use the tax dollars that support students in public schools to instead pay for other educational pursuits, such as private school or homeschooling.”

“School choice is my priority, it’s what I ran on,” Toews said. 

Read in Idaho Capitol Sun

Read BSU 2022 Public Policy Survey

Can Lent rein in disastrous Senate Ed Committee?

By BRYAN CLARK Idaho Statesman

“The reasons most proponents of vouchers want to pursue them have nothing to do with improving student outcomes.

They’re simply opposed to free and equal education provided by a system of public schools. In the short term, vouchers offer a means to undermine it: allowing high-achieving students easy ways out, taking funding with them. Public schools are then left with a greater proportion of higher-cost, harder-to-educate students and less money to do it with.

In the long term, they prefer a world of fully privatized education, a world in which a student’s school is as good as their parents’ bank accounts. This, they say, is freedom.”

Read in Idaho Statesman

Idaho Legislature: Moyle defeats Monks for House speaker; other leadership positions elected

“In the race for majority leader, Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, who previously was majority caucus chair, defeated Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens.

The assistant majority leader post drew two hopefuls: Reps. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay; and Jon Weber, R-Rexburg. Dixon, a 5th-term representative who has chaired both the House Business Committee and the House Ethics Committee, won the post.”

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho legislators to select caucus leadership teams and committee chairs

BY:  – NOVEMBER 28, 2022 

“Although the 2023 legislative session does not gavel in until Jan 9, the leadership and committee assignments will be sorted out this week. 

Legislators will meet in private Wednesday night to elect a slate of caucus leadership. Caucuses are grouped together by legislative chamber and political party. That means Republicans in the Idaho House will elect the speaker of the House and majority leadership positions, while Democrats in the House will elect their minority leadership team. Similarly, Republicans in the Senate will elect the Senate president pro tem and majority leadership officers, while Democrats in the Senate will elect minority party officers. “

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

State of Idaho certifies general election results

BY:  – NOVEMBER 23, 2022 

“The additional data released with the canvass showed that voter turnout across the state came to 56.8%.

The other seven counties audited include Bonner, Bonneville, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Minidoka, Oneida and Shoshone. There were no unaccounted ballots in Bonner, Bonneville, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Minidoka or Shoshone counties.”

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

Secretary of State’s office working to find source of ‘Don’t Vote’ signs

BY:  – NOVEMBER 1, 2022 4:30 AM

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office is working to determine the source of signs posted around the Treasure Valley with a message that says, “Don’t Vote” and a QR code that redirects to the campaign website for Ammon Bundy, who is running as an independent candidate for governor.

The signs do not indicate who paid for them to be printed and placed, which Houck said would be a campaign finance violation if the campaign knew about them. Idaho law requires campaigns to indicate on all political advertising who is responsible for the advertising.

“That’s a violation, clearly,” Houck said. 

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

Alaska has shown how to achieve sensible election reform

September 6, 2022 By Jim Jones
In Legislative District 1 this year, Scott Herndon, a candidate further right than Attila the Hun, beat Sen. Jim Woodward in the primary election with a scorched earth campaign.

Woodward has been one of our very best GOP legislators. Unless Herndon loses to a write-in candidate in November, he will be pushing his abortion-is-murder- from-fertilization crusade in the next legislative session.” 

Read in Bonner Daily Bee

Judge rules that Bonneville County GOP cannot endorse Republicans in Idaho’s primary

“It seems clear enough — quite clear” that county central committees are limited to endorsing only county-level political candidates, “with respect to endorsement of Republican candidates in Republican primary settings,” Scott said at the end of a nearly two-hour virtual court hearing.”  The Bonner County Republican Central Committee endorses candidates during a primary similar to what authoritarian governments do. The voters are supposed to pick the candidates, NOT the party.  

Read in Idaho Capital Sun

A Fracture in Idaho’s G.O.P. as the Far Right Seeks Control

“Ahead of a primary vote, traditional Republicans are raising alarm about the future of the party, warning about the growing strength of militia members, racists and the John Birch Society.  Spencer Hutchings, a candidate for the State House, was the one who advocated making machine guns generally available.”

Read in New York Times 

Kids Matter Index - 2022 Senator Woodward - 100%

Check to see how your representatives scored on the Kids Matter Index.  This index is compiled after the session is over.  The Idaho Freedom Foundation sends text messages during voting to let representatives know how each vote will impact their scores. This is NOT how scoring should be done. Senator Jim Woodward received a 100% while Rep Heather Scott received a 38%. 

Kids Matter Index
Idaho Capital Sun

New Republican party forms in North Idaho

“The founders of the new party say the current party is mismanaged, doesn’t represent many republicans in the county and say the recent dilemma with North Idaho College was the final straw.”  The fracturing of the Idaho Republican party is real.  Which side do you land on?

Read on KXLY

Making the grade

April 10, 2022
Idaho Business for Education rates our representatives on how well they support education.  It’s no surprise that Senator Jim Woodward received a 100%. 

Read More in the Daily Bee

Does your candidate support selling public lands?

April 6, 2022
Read Senator’s Jim Woodwards summary of this year’s legislative session.

Go here to Read More

Big-money Nevada consultants play part in Herndon Senate campaign

March 23, 2022 by Zach Hagadon
“Most striking is McShane LLC’s ties to groups — including the Proud Boys.”

Read in The Sandpoint Reader

Idaho can use your help

March 12, 2022 by Douglas Siddoway
“Whatever the reason, what we got and are now grappling with, from one end of the state to the other, is an Idaho Freedom Foundation-orchestrated mindset that is as self-centered as it is dark.”

Read in the Spokesman Review

Accreditation team finds NIC is strong in every way but one – its board

March 9, 2022  by Shawn Vestal
“Rarely has any institution suffered the destructive impact of a single individual to the degree that NIC has suffered from the bullying lawlessness of Todd Banducci and his fellow anti-education cutthroats on the NIC board.”

Read in the Spokesman Review

NIVS in the news: Nonprofit group aims to help voters get informed

March 10, 2022  by Zach Hagadone
“To accomplish that, Dawson added, “It just gets back to getting voters to vote. Democracy is not permanent. We can lose it overnight.””

Read in the Sandpoint Reader

A Parent’s Letter to Gov. Little and the Legislature

March 9, 2022  by Barbara Schreiber
“Generally, it is my job as a parent to help guide my boys through the minefield of adolescence and to help them make sense of the world around them. The last thing I’m worried about is what they may be exposed to in school, by a book, or from an educator. The nightly news can be much more dehumanizing.”

Read in the Idaho Education News

We Should Heed George Washington's Warnings Against Partisanship

February 22, 2022, By Jim Jones

“The American people are faced with a stark choice–continue down the road where political extremism rules our lives, or choose to put the good of the country and state above poisonous partisanship.”

Read story in IDED News

NIVS Aims To Help Voters Sort through Candidates, Issues

February 22, 2022, The Daily Bee

Read about how North Idaho Voter Services got its start and how they plan to help voters.

Read story in the Daily Bee

Uncivil Debate is Costing Idaho Communities Good Public Servants

February 13, 2022, By the Editorial Board of the Idaho Statesman

“Just because a public body makes a decision you don’t like, that doesn’t give you license to yell, throw a temper tantrum, bang down doors, harass and threaten.”

Read story by Idaho Statesman