Incumbent Jeff Thompson beat a challenge from political newcomer Steve Yates in the
race for the Legislative District 30A seat, winning a fourth term by a razor-thin margin.
The race was the closest of Thompson’s political career. He received 2,431 votes to Yates’ 2,323 in the Republican Primary,
a victory margin of 108 votes, according to the unofficial tally.
Both candidates are business consultants from Idaho Falls.
Thompson could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
“Of course, it’s disappointing,” Yates said. “I think it’s unexpected that it would have been so close.”
Thompson ran on a platform emphasizing business and job growth. He pointed to his support of House Bill 546, which gave tax credits to businesses based on a number of factors, including job creation, as evidence of his commitment to improved economic conditions.
Yates slammed Thompson’s support for the state health insurance exchange and said Thompson had not adequately explained his reasoning to voters. Yates said Thompson demonstrated an “inadequate amount of transparency and accountability.”
Thompson first was elected in 2008, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Jerry Shively. He defeated Shively again in a 2010 rematch. In 2012, Thompson handily defeated primary challenger Trimelda Concepcion McDaniels and Constitution Party challenger David G. Hay.
Yates has lived in Idaho only two years, but gained the backing of several prominent local Republicans, including Bonneville County Republican Central Committee Chairman Doyle Beck, former state Rep. Janice McGeachin, former state Sen. Ann Rydalch and former state Rep. Erik Simpson.
Thompson was backed by several state interest groups, including pro-life advocates Idaho Chooses Life, and the state logging and agricultural lobbies.
In the weeks ahead of the primary, Yates out-raised Thompson considerably, bringing in $16,947 to Thompson’s $10,850.
Thompson will face Hay in the November general election.