Idaho Falls Republican Bryan Smith is again seeking to represent Idaho’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Smith announced his candidacy in a Saturday news release. He said in the release that he was running because he felt Rep. Mike Simpson, also an Idaho Falls Republican, has been in office for too long and does not represent Idaho conservative values.
“As a husband, father, grandfather to six, I am concerned about the future of our country. Every day we give away more of our precious freedoms to the federal government. We are on a slippery slope of allowing socialism to overtake our Republic,” Smith said in the release. “Career politicians like Mike Simpson are not doing their job. They have been in office far too long. If we don’t send strong conservatives like me to Congress, our future is uncertain. Idahoans deserves better than a liberal, far-left so called Republican representing them in Washington like Mike Simpson.”
Smith ran against Simpson in 2014, garnering more than 38% of votes in the Idaho District 2 Republican Primary. It was the closest primary race Simpson has faced since 1998 when Mark Stubbs received more than 35% of the vote.
Smith said Monday that he felt he did well in 2014 considering it was the first time he ran for a public office.
“I learned how the process works and gained a lot of valuable experience that I can use running this time,” he said.
In 2014, Smith was endorsed by ultraconservative political action committees including Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the Madison Project and the Senate Conservatives Fund. Simpson was backed by former Rep. Paul Ryan, R–Wisc.; former GOP presidential nominee and now Sen. Mitt Romney, R–Utah; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and the American Dental Association.
Smith said he feels that he may appeal more to voters in the upcoming 2022 primary because they are tired of the “all talk, no action” stance that he believes some members of Congress have taken.
He was a delegate for former President Donald Trump at the Republican National Committee Convention. Smith said that leads him to believe he better represents Idaho conservative values than Simpson, someone he calls an “anti-Trump Washington insider.”
Smith has been critical of Simpson for his plan to remove four dams on the lower Snake River. He said Simpson did not support Trump when he voted for the Jan. 6 Commission to investigate Trump and the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
“He’s basically declared war on farmers, ranchers and families,” Smith said about the dams. “That is not what we need in Idaho. It would devastate our economy and it would destroy the Port of Lewiston.”
The Post Register reported in 2014 that Simpson’s career has revolved around making pragmatic compromises, a practice he said is essential to governing effectively.
Simpson also has taken conservative positions on many issues. He recently voted in opposition to H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and has called the immigration situation at the U.S. southern border a “crisis.” Additionally he voted against both efforts to impeach Trump.
Among other things Simpson, who has been in Congress since 1998, is known for spearheading the effort for the Cecil D. Andrus Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness area as well as supporting historic mission growth at the Idaho National Laboratory.
On Monday, Idaho Public Television announced in a news release it was going to broadcast a documentary titled “Salmon Reckoning” that examines Simpson’s plan for the Snake River Dams. Simpson said in the release removing the dams was necessary to save the salmon population in the river.
“We started from the position that there’s gotta be a way to save dams and save salmon. Then we looked at the science. You are not going to restore the salmon runs that come to my district to spawn with the dams in place. That’s what every fish biologist that I know of has said to me. The science is clear. You’ve got to remove the dams,” Simpson said in the release.