Moderates may gain in most conservative state

  • Idaho

    Diane Sylvain
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to a feature story.

The Idaho Legislature - considered the most conservative assembly in the West - probably won't change too dramatically this election. Democrats are hoping to double their seats, but even if they do, they'll still hold barely a third of the Senate and less than half of the House. Nevertheless, the environment is playing a role in this election. Key issues like nuclear waste, salmon recovery and public-land access may swing some votes toward Democrats or more moderate Republicans.

In the U.S. congressional races, freshman Republican Helen Chenoweth could lose her House seat to Democrat Dan Williams. Recent polls show Chenoweth has lost her lead and is now trailing Williams by four points. "Williams will win because Chenoweth has made so many mistakes," predicts Mike Medberry of the Idaho Conservation League.

But conservationists are not crazy about Williams: "He's a lukewarm kind of guy," Medberry says, and though he opposes state land sales and nuclear waste shipments to Idaho, he's taken a middle-of-the-road stand on most environmental issues.

On the ballot: U.S. SENATE: Larry Craig (R-incumb.) vs. Walt Minnick (D). U.S. HOUSE: 1st District - Helen Chenoweth (R-incumb.) vs. Dan Williams (D). 2nd District - Mike Crapo (R-incumb.) vs. John Seidl (D).