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Idaho Democrats Name Contenders for Vacant Senate Seat

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democrats from a Boise legislative district that’s among Idaho’s most-competitive has selected its three top candidates to replace a departing state senator.

District 18 in southeastern Boise is aiming to fill the vacancy left when former Sen. Branden Durst relocated to western Washington. They are incumbent state Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, the No. 1 choice of the district’s officials; Lawrence Crowley, a utility consultant; and Elizabeth Oppenheimer, an education advocate.

District 18 Chairman John Goettsche says he’s excited to have such a competent group to send Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for final appointment. Given the district’s swing nature, there’s speculation among Democrats whether Otter will choose Ward-Engelking or somebody else Republicans might see as more vulnerable in the November 2014 elections. Jon Hanian, Otter’s spokesman, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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