As we get closer to the General Election, the Idaho Bulletin will continue highlighting swing district races and their candidates. These races will impact the balance of power in the Statehouse — not just between Democrats and Republicans, but importantly, they will help determine the direction of the GOP after far right hardliners picked up safe seats in the Primary Election. Today we highlight Senate District 15.
- Location: West Boise
- Incumbent: Open
- Partisan Lean: Toss-Up
- D: Rick Just
- R: Codi Galloway
- C: Sarah Clendenon
Rick Just is a native Idahoan whose great-grandparents moved to Idaho in 1863, just a few weeks after the Idaho territory was formed. Rick is a Marine Corps Veteran, graduate of Boise State University, and respected state historian with several books published on Idaho’s history. He has worked at the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation for 30 years.
This is Just’s second run for this seat: in 2020, he ran against longtime incumbent Senator Fred Martin and came within striking distance, even in a high turnout presidential year.
Just’s endorsements include: Idaho Education Association; Conservation Voters for Idaho; Planned Parenthood; Mike Masterson, retired Boise Police Chief, and even Senator Fred Martin, his former opponent.
After ousting the incumbent Martin in the GOP Primary, first-term Representative Codi Galloway is facing two opponents in the General Election. Galloway was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020, representing District 15B for less than two years.
She was born in Panama City, Florida and received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in 1999. In her short term as a lawmaker, she has already made a mark by voting yes on a new wave of social issue legislation that criminalizes librarians, doctors, and parents (HB 666, SB 1309, and HB 675 respectively). Additionally, she stood out by opposing the education funding and anti-inflation tax cut bills recently proposed by Governor Little and passed by the legislature late this summer. Though she often broke ranks with more traditional Republicans in her first term, that did not stop her from being challenged to the right by Constitution Party candidate Sarah Clendenon.
Galloway’s endorsements include: National Rifle Association, Associated General Contractors, and the Farm Bureau.
Sarah Clendenon is the Director of Legislative Affairs for Health Freedom Idaho, an organization that aims to “inform and educate on natural living, the freedom of health choice and bodily autonomy, avoiding toxins, strengthening immunity, and healing from toxin exposure” — an anti-vaccination organization. She is also a staffer for the Ammon Bundy for Governor campaign, a vocal critic of Governor Little, and active in the Constitution Party of Idaho. Clendenon studied Criminal Justice Administration, Public Law, and Political Philosophy at Boise State University.
Clendenon’s endorsements include: Ammon Bundy
Why this race matters
This suburban West Boise swing district was virtually unchanged in redistricting, and is the only Boise state senate seat that has never flipped from GOP to Democratic control. Democrats have come close before: In the midterms election of 2018, Fred Martin won the seat by only six votes, triggering a recount. With three candidates in the race — and both the GOP candidate and Codi Galloway running further to the right than the former elected Republican Senator — all eyes are on Senate District 15.
When freshman Rep. Galloway decided to try and make the leap to the senate chamber, she defeated the more moderate, five-term incumbent Senator Fred Martin in the GOP primary. Galloway likely didn’t expect to be facing off against Democrat Rick Just and someone even further to her right, Sarah Clendenon — but that’s where she landed. Arguably, the activities of Clendenon and Health Freedom Idaho contributed to Martin’s defeat, as their anti-public health and anti-vaccination crusade made Martin a frequent target of theirs when he acted as chair of the Senate Health and Welfare committee. In September, Martin surprised many when he crossed party lines to endorse his first Democrat, throwing his name behind Rick Just, saying, “He has integrity, is principled and is honest.”
Is 2022 the year that the district flips? We’ll find out soon enough.