Second District Congressman Mike Simpson will be part of a congested primary election this spring for the first time since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998.
Simpson faces two fellow Republicans: Buhl resident Jack Wayne Chappell is author of "The Wilderness Rape" and Gregory Nemitz is a Twin Falls businessman.
One of two Democrats, Deborah Holmes and David Sneddon, both Boise real estate agents, will face the GOP winner in November.
The primary will be Tuesday, May 27.
Simpson is serving his fifth term and serves on the House Appropriations and House Budget committees. His subcommittee assignments include Energy and Water Development; Labor, Health and Human Services; and Education.
Simpson has gained national attention for his bill to split the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, which attempts to sort out a huge and long-standing wilderness conundrum as well as address the concerns of economic growth and stability for rural Idaho in and around the Boulder and White Cloud mountains north of Ketchum.
During a speech at Redfish Lake on Sunday, May 18, Simpson appeared confident in his ability to retain his seat, but said the Republican party might be scrambling somewhat this election cycle.
"We're trying to do damage control," he said.
Nemitz, whose platform is highlighted at www.nemitz.net, said in a recent interview that voters want change.
"I think people are fired up by the presidential election," he said. "I'm here to listen and talk with people of the second district about what they want, and I intend to cast my vote that way."
Nemitz said his central platform consists of four primary issues: reforming social security, veterans' benefits reforms, increased development of water resources and economic development through technological advances.
"I believe in the representative form of government that our nation's founders intended," Nemitz said. "That means I will listen to and learn from my constituents, the people of District 2, and represent them."
He said he embraces conservative Republican values of liberty, property rights and equal opportunities for everyone.
Chappell, 56, has targeted Simpson on the issue of the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.
"It's all about the money, baby," he wrote in a letter to the editor published by the Idaho Statesman. "When it comes to the federal dole, there are no party lines. Democrats sit at the table in Republican laps and they all get hog fat on bureaucratic pork."
Chappell said the "lockup" of another 300,000 acres in the Boulder and White Cloud mountains is wrong.
According to the Web site www.votesmart.org, Chappell ran for the District 2 seat before, in 2000, and was a candidate in 1998 for Idaho governor.
Holmes, a trained chemist working as a Boise real estate agent, has lived in the Treasure Valley for 17 years. She was in the Wood River Valley yesterday and today shaking hands and drumming up support.
This is her first political campaign, but she said in a recent telephone interview that she is excited about the challenge. Her platform focuses on Iraq, education, financial reform and affordable health care, which she said are "important to Idaho voters."
"It is crucial that the voters understand how I will vote on issues that will face the next Congress," she wrote in a recent letter to the editor published in the Idaho Statesman. "Sneddon (her primary opponent) is extremely vague on national affairs. I have traveled across eastern Idaho, and what I have found is that my message of substantial reform resonates with many Idahoans who have been suffering from governmental neglect."
Sneddon, 49, who ran and lost in the U.S. Senate primary against Wood River Valley resident Alan Blinken in 2002, describes himself a "Blue Dog Democrat."
Sneddon wrote in a May 12 letter to the editor published by the Idaho Statesman that he has been accused of having a bad habit of trying to solve every political problem.
"I have a solution for reducing the national debt," he wrote. "I have a plan that would eliminate congressional earmarks and still bring home the bacon, I also have a solution to ending our dependence on foreign oil, and most importantly I have a way to help expand Idaho's economy. To a fault, I am never without an opinion but I always try to base my arguments on facts."