BOISE, Idaho – Voters in Idaho decided primary races for a congressional seat and governor Tuesday, but officials said early turnout appeared to be light.
Secretary of State Ben Ysursa predicted turnout would be as low as 27 percent of registered voters in Idaho, mirroring the 2004 primary.
The race generating the most interest was in the 1st Congressional District, where one candidate once sought to have his county declared a disaster area because of an influx of illegal immigrants.
Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, who is the grandson of Mexican immigrants, vied with five others to be the Republican candidate in November. The seat is being vacated by Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who declined to seek re-election to run for governor.
The winner is expected to face former business executive Larry Grant, who sought the Democratic nomination against Cecil Kelly, a small-business owner in the resort community of Coeur d'Alene.
In the governor's race, Otter was heavily favored against two challengers in the GOP primary.
On the Democratic ballot, newspaper owner Jerry Brady was making his second bid for governor. He got 42 percent of the vote in the 2002 general election against former Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, who awaits confirmation as U.S. interior secretary.
Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican, is Idaho's acting governor but is not running for the state's top office.
In the nation's only other primary, former Clinton administration official Bill Halter faced three Democratic opponents in the lieutenant governor's race in Arkansas.
Halter, who was deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration under President Clinton, enjoyed a wide lead in fundraising. He secured a ballot spot last week when the state Supreme Court ruled he met a seven-year eligibility requirement despite working outside the state for much of the last 20 years.
In the Republican primary, state Sen. Jim Holt faced two opponents. Holt had greater name recognition, in part because of a run for U.S. Senate two years ago in which he won 44 percent of the vote.