Lyle Johnstone
Picture by Bill Colley.

Lyle Johnstone very much defines the words “political activist”.  The man from Eden attempted a run for the state legislature four years ago.  Last week, he filed for candidacy as a Republican in the newly redrawn 26th House District.  Each of the state’s 35 districts shares two seats in the House and one in the Senate.

Johnstone is a Republican.  He will likely have a bruising primary in May.  Normally, Republicans in Idaho don’t have any concerns after winning a party primary.  The party holds 85 percent of all elective seats in the state, however.

Blaine County is a Blue Island in a Red Ocean

The new 26th poses a serious challenge for the General Election in November.  It’s going to include Blaine County, one of the few bastions for Democrats in Idaho.  Johnstone’s home of Jerome County is heavily Republican and has a similar population.  Lincoln County, also now in the district, is also GOP territory.  Historically, Election Day turnout in Blaine County has been considerably higher.  Republicans will simply need to energize their base.

The Candidate is a Strict Constructionist

Johnstone is a constitutionalist.  He favors repeal of the grocery tax and would consider a repeal of the property tax if an alternative could be found or if state spending could be greatly reduced.  He vows he won’t vote to expand the government and was opposed to the state’s heavy-handed COVID response.

He’ll soon be a guest on Magic Valley This Morning on Newsradio 1310 KLIX.  In the next 90 days, we’ll see a lot of familiar and unfamiliar names filing.  The late arrival of the new district maps put several candidacies on hold.

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