Today we continue to highlight 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 29.
- Location: Pocatello
- Incumbent: Open
- Partisan Lean: Toss-Up
- D: James Ruchti
- R: David Worley
James Ruchti is the current State Representative for Pocatello and is now running for State Senate. He’s a 5th generation Idahoan and Pocatello native. A graduate of West Point and former US Army intelligence officer, Ruchti is currently a trial attorney and small business owner. He served in the Idaho House from 2006-10 and again from 2020-22, sponsoring and passing legislation extending the rights of child sexual abuse victims and expanding consumer protections for the elderly and disabled from predatory practices.
Ruchti’s endorsements include: Idaho Education Association, Idaho Children are Primary, Idaho Prosperity Fund, Professional Fire Fighters of Idaho, and Conservation Voters for Idaho.
David Worley is from Pocatello and has a Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, Virginia and a Master of Arts degree from the Institute of World Politics, Washington D.C. He was a commissioned infantry officer in the Army National Guard.
Worley proudly runs on a conservative platform that includes moving funds from public schools to private, religious ones, criminalizing abortion with no exceptions for rape and incest, and restricting early voting and banning ballot dropboxes or vote by mail. He has close ties with Seb Gorka, the Trump advisor fired due to his neo-Nazi ties, and documented involvement with militia groups — which is why some believe the Fraternal Order of Police have declined to endorse his candidacy, despite endorsing many GOP candidates this cycle.
Worley’s endorsements include: National Rifle Association, Idaho Freedom Foundation and Make Liberty Win
Why this race matters
This East Idaho district which encompassed almost the entire Pocatello city limits, home of Idaho State University, was altered in redistricting and also lost its three-term State Senator, Democrat Mark Nye. Senator Nye, well respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle and a big supporter of higher education, retired after his last term and then passed away last July. He was a mentor to James Ruchti and endorsed his run before passing away.
Despite being previously held by a Democrat, this seat is notorious for big partisan swings — which is why people are paying attention to David Worley’s bid for the seat. While seen by many as the underdog in this fight, nothing is certain in this district.