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Scott Bedke on the verge of winning the Idaho Republican primary as lieutenant governor

House Speaker Scott Bedke held a large lead in the 2022 Republican primary election for lieutenant governor Tuesday night, according to unofficial election results released by the state.

Shortly before midnight, Bedke told the Idaho Capital Sun that he was confident his lead over State Rep. Priscilla Giddings and the Republican Daniel J. Gasiorowski would hold out.

“We’re in good shape,” Bedke said. “I’m confident our margin will hold.”

Just before midnight, by-election results showed Bedke claiming 57% of the vote to Giddings’ 36%. Gasiorowski had almost 6%.

Bedke is an Oakley rancher and is the longest serving house speaker in the history of the Idaho legislature. He served 11 terms in the Idaho House of Representatives.

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Giddings is a White Bird fighter pilot who served three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives.

Lieutenant Governor is a four-year position and a part-time job. Key job requirements include presiding over the Idaho Senate and preparing to break a possible tie vote. The lieutenant governor also frequently serves as acting governor when the governor is out of state. The office of lieutenant governor has been a stepping stone to higher office for decades. Governor Brad Little and past governors. Butch Otter, Jim Risch, Phil Batt and John Evans all served as lieutenant governors before becoming governors.

During the campaign, Giddings backed out of participating in a statewide televised debate against Bedke after initially agreeing, which leads to cancellation of the scheduled Lieutenant Governor’s debate on Idaho Public Television. Giddings backed down after his campaign team said it wanted to pre-clear panel reporters who help ask questions during the debate. Idaho Gov. Brad Little and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, also declined to participate in the debates this year.

“It’s time to move on,” Bedke said. “We have been through a difficult primary, but there are many things we all agree on. We all agree that we want our children to be well educated. We all agree that we want our roads, bridges and our water systems are up to snuff. We all know Idaho is the fastest growing state. We’ve been discovered.”

If he holds out to win, a primary election victory for Bedke would represent a victory for an establishment, traditional conservative, over Giddings’ far-right challenge. In 2021, the Idaho House voted 49-18 censure Giddings for conduct unbecoming a legislator and remove her from one of her committee assignments after she shared and promoted a blog post that identified and included a photo of a 19-year-old intern who accused former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape. Last month, an Ada County jury found von Ehlinger guilty of rape and he is awaiting sentencing.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary election qualifies for the Nov. 8 general election to face Democrat Terri Pickens Manweiler and Pro-Life, who is a Constitution Party candidate formerly named Marvin Richardson.

Tuesday’s results will become official after being consulted and certified over the next two weeks. The deadline for the State Board of Solicitors to meet to conduct canvassing and certify election results is June 1.

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