Representative Tom Loertscher announces write-in candidacy
Representative Tom Loertscher (R. Bone) announced that he has filed the necessary declaration with the Secretary of State to run as a write-in candidate for Representative in District 32 position B in a news release this morning.
Loertscher lost the Primary Election in May to challenger Chad Christensen of Ammon. Christensen now has two write-in candidates heading into the General Election including Democratic candidate Ralph Mossman of Driggs.
“After receiving encouragement from many in the district and after a number of weeks considering this, I have decided to move forward,” Loertscher said in the news release of the write-in bid to retain his seat.
District 32 is a rural district that encompasses Teton, Caribou, Bear Lake, Franklin and Oneida counties in addition to eastern Bonneville County.
Loertscher said in a phone interview this morning with the Teton Valley News that much is at stake in this election. Though not a proponent of the Prop 2 vote to expand Medicaid in Idaho, he said the ballot initiative would likely pass and that he wanted to work on seeing Prop 2 be as successful and financially viable as it could be once it hits the statehouse.
“I think someone who has experience with Medicaid like me should be there to see it through,” he said. “It needs to be fixed and I think that is something I could contribute to.”
He said he was frustrated with the May Primary in which he felt incumbents like himself are given little time to campaign and raise money during the legislature season. He also said he feels a deep concern over Christensen who, said Loertscher, contends that he will buck the establishment.
“He’s said he’s not going to work with the establishment,” Loertscher said. “One lesson that I have learned is that you will get further if you work out disagreements rather than stand in the public square and beat your chest. If I’ve grown over the years, I’ve grown there.”
Christensen said in an interview with the Post Register just before the primary election that he was motivated to run because Loertscher wouldn’t grant hearings for certain bills at the Legislature. Specifically, he said he felt House Bill 444 — a more expansive version of the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground Law that became law this year — should have been heard. Christensen said he supports every bill getting not only a hearing before a committee but a vote on the House floor. He also said that Loertscher, whose career at the statehouse as an elected official has spanned almost 30 years, has been in office too long.
“He’s been in office way too long,” Christensen said to the Post Register, adding he thought Loertscher was no longer “a voice for the people.”
Idaho law requires that the name of the write-in candidate be written on the line provided and that the box be filled in for the vote to be counted. Spelling of the name need not be exact as long as the intent of the voter is understood.