Potential primary challenge for Congressman Mike Simpson.
Potential primary challenge for Congressman Mike Simpson.

She hasn’t yet made up her mind. Former State Representative Janice McGeachin tells me she’s being encouraged by many people to run for U.S. House next year. McGeachin, a Republican, would be challenging fellow Republican and current U.S. Representative Mike Simpson in Idaho’s Second Congressional District.

McGeachin is a successful business owner and popular among state conservative leaders, many of whom have been telling me for the last couple of weeks they believe McGeachin can topple a man they see as Republican-in-Name-Only. McGeachin supported Russ Fulcher’s attempt to primary C.L. “Butch” Otter. Fulcher came within 8,000 votes of toppling the sitting Governor.

Some Republican insiders tell me it reflects the growing muscle of the conservative and Tea Party wings of the party.

Simpson’s campaign war chest could frighten away many challengers, however. Keep in mind a primary campaign is a short affair with limited opportunities for broadcast advertising. Money may not be an issue for Representative Simpson and he wouldn’t need to keep much for a general election where Democrats would put up the usual sacrificial party member who happens to be next in line. The disadvantage is broadcast advertising comes in finite amounts. Any primary contest then becomes much more dependent on personal appearances with service clubs, at fire halls and by leaning on a heavy social media presence.

A couple of final observations. McGeachin’s business holdings appear widespread. Perhaps she can self-fund. The final argument is what I hear from callers on the radio program when Simpson’s name comes up. I realize the callers aren’t an accurate representation of potential primary and general election voters. I do know I’ve not heard one Republican from inside the establishment offer a strong defense of the Congressman. Many find him aloof and believe he may be serving in the House on borrowed time. As I said this morning during a conversation about the matter, the New England Patriots are currently undefeated. Someday the Patriots will lose. When I was living in Delaware in 2010 leading newspapers and the political establishment had the champagne on ice believing Congressman Mike Castle was a shoe-in for U.S. Senate. The Friday before the primary I left work and drove to a local park outside an American Legion Post. Challenger Christine O’Donnell was mobbed and media from around the world had found its way to Oak Orchard, Delaware and had to fight through the crowd. I stood chatting with a nice fellow with a thick Danish accent as he scribbled notes. Lightning can strike and Janice McGeachin is likely far more organized and has a much longer political resume than Christine O’Donnell.

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