Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Primary 2012: Chuck Winder Responds to Challenges

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 5:40 AM

Sen. Chuck Winder, right, talks to constituents at the Idaho GOP Primary results party.
  • Sen. Chuck Winder, right, talks to constituents at the Idaho GOP Primary results party.

After a whirlwind Legislative session, Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder received a lot of response from his constituents, some of it negative.

"It got real personal and pretty crazy," said Winder. "We had some threats that we turned over to the state police."

Winder sponsored a bill that would have required ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, an issue that took a turn for the bizarre in the latter days of the session. A live ultrasound demonstration in a Statehouse conference room may have led to a retreat from the bill's supporters and a subsequent campaign against Winder, which was spearheaded by opponents.

Part of that push was Democratic write-in challenger James Mace, who Tuesday night won more than the necessary 50 votes to secure a spot on the Democratic ballot for the November general election against Winder (142 voters wrote in Mace).

"Most of our supporters have said things like we appreciate that you put money back into education and into rainy day accounts and supported the state's strong fiscal condition, unlike most of the states around us," said Winder.

But the Republican senator suggested his district will skew socially conservative, despite having shifted since the 2012 redistricting.

"When [Sen.] Shirley McKague was there, it was a very conservative district," said Winder. "A strong percentage of Republican voters. It's a very strong right-to-life district. We'll probably start campaigning soon. Usually, you start during the summertime on weekends. As you get closer to the weekends, you do nights and weekends."

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