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Republican Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is by no means a moderate. During his 14 years in office, Simpson has consistently received high marks by some of the nation's leading conservative political organizations, including the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life. Over the course of his career, Simpson has also accrued a 58 percent lifetime rating from the Club for Growth, a fact which should attest to Simpson's conservative credentials, while at the same time re-assuring his constituents that he's not exactly crazed. But in today's Republican Party, the rather conservative Mike Simpson is instead viewed by many as being far too moderate (perhaps even liberal). And that's why, like many other incumbent House Republicans across the country, Rep. Simpson is now facing a very real primary challenge by way of Idaho Falls Attorney, Bryan Smith.
Smith, a Tea Party favorite, just reported raising more than $250,000 in the last quarter alone, with more than $300,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Simpson, by contrast, has yet to report his 3rd quarter totals, though his current cash-on-hand stands at just $335,000; a dangerously low figure for any incumbent facing a primary challenge (particularly one from a candidate who has already shown he's more than capable of raising lots of money).
Given the politics of ID-2, whoever wins the Republican primary held in May of next year, will most certainly be headed to Washington to represent the people of eastern Idaho. At the moment, no polls have yet been conducted on this race, but it's a good bet that Smith poses a very credible threat to Simpson's re-election efforts. Should Smith win this race (something which seems entirely possible given the historically low voter turnout for midterm primaries), it will also likely serve as a good indicator as to where the GOP is headed more broadly.