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Op-Ed: Risch: Senate Control Far From Decided

By • September 20, 2022

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch has every reason to hope that Republicans gain control of the Senate after November’s midterm elections.

That would mean he would be back as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a lofty position he held during the Trump administration, and that fellow Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo would lead the Senate Finance Committee – assuming that he is re-elected.

But whether Republicans can take back the Senate … that’s another question. “It’s a 50/50 deal, which is a general way of saying I don’t know,” Risch told me.

He is more certain about the GOP’s prospects in the House. “Republicans will take the House,” he said. “As long as you have one of the two bodies, you have at least partial ball control. If you don’t have either one, they could ride over the top of you. But we are going to take the House, so that makes it less important to have control of the Senate.”

Two years ago, when Senate control was hanging in the balance, Risch offered some gloomy predictions if Democrats were to gain a majority. He thought the party would move to end the filibuster (the 60-vote requirement for getting most bills passed), grant statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and add more seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to negate the court’s conservative majority.

None of those things happened. Moderate forces in the Democratic Party decided, wisely, that ending the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court would not be a good idea. Those things wouldn’t work nearly as well with Republicans in the majority. And for some reason, statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. – which probably would keep Democrats in the majority in the foreseeable future – has not been discussed much. So the Senate sits with a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking tie votes. Technically, that gives Democrats a majority. But that can all change on a dime with the midterm elections and several tight races hanging in the balance.

In some ways, these midterms are a sequel to the 2020 presidential election – although neither President Biden nor Trump are on the ballot. Those denying the validity of the last election are out in force on the Republican side, and Biden has labeled Trump supporters as a threat to democracy.

We’ll see whether Trump, or Biden, are assets to their party.
“It depends on the state,” Risch says. “If it’s Massachusetts, then not so much. If it’s Idaho, then (Trump’s) greatly helpful.” For Biden, folks love him in Delaware, but he gets no traction in red states such as Idaho.

It remains to be seen how the abortion issue plays out. Again, it depends on the state.
“The polling I’ve seen suggests that the Supreme Court decision has not moved the needle at all as far as pushing people one way or the other on the issue,” Risch says. “Polling suggests that it has raised the enthusiasm on both sides for single-issue voters. I’m not sure that at the end of the day it makes a lot of difference. People who are pro life will vote pro-life and those who are pro-choice will vote pro-choice.”

One thing that Risch is certain about are the prospects for Crapo.
“I have a bold prediction,” he said, chuckling. Sen. Crapo is going to win by a landslide.”
Who can argue? A Democrat has not held the U.S. Senate seat in Idaho since Frank Church, and that was back in 1980.

“When Mike talks, people listen,” Risch says. “Republicans have lunch together on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and we discuss a lot of things. Mike seldom talks at those meetings, but when he does people are very much tuned into listening to him – especially on financial matters. Mike does not get angry. He’s very pragmatic and he is interested in problem solving, I could not ask for a better working partner.”

It’s a partnership that likely will continue for at least another four years, when Risch will be up for re-election. He’ll be 83 by then, so we’ll see what the distant future holds.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

This Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: Chuck Malloy, Jim Risch, Senator Jim Risch

15 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Risch: Senate Control Far From Decided

  1. Jim Risch is Idaho’s own Liz Cheney and needs to leave politics ASAP.

    Look deeply into his decisions to back the Globalists supporting the wrong side in the Ukraine.
    Look deeply into how he directs your tax dollars.
    Look deeply into how his actions put Idaho’s military ranks into harms way only to support Globalist Ideology.

    Jim Risch needs to resign now.

    PS: As far as Mike Crapo, that’s easy: VOTE FOR SCOTT CLEVELAND FOR SENATE!

    1. Idaho Seven – you said it right. Jim Risch and Crapo have thrown Americans under the bus.

      Idahoans need to look at what they do, not what party they represent. When one begins to follow how they vote and the games played during that vote, they will see that the “R” label often makes no difference to the “D” label.

      And the same goes with Idaho’s legislature. It’s truly sad watching how the majority of those Republicans vote.

    2. ID7 is absolutely correct about Risch and Crap-o!!! Haven.t voted for them in several years(just left blank on ballot) They are totally anti-Trump. Just read both of their news released going back several years. Nothing to support Trump or true conservatives……just progressive Repub talk! They are totally establishment good ole boys!

  2. It’s time for a complete change in all government. Here we talk about only if we had control we could do so much. What happen when they had control of all 3 when Trump first got elected. NOTHING.

  3. I wouldn’t trust anything this slippery rhino Malloy writes. He has a carefully crafted progressive agenda just like every liberal media hack – and his repeated forays writing “op-eds” here are an effort to extend the democrat propaganda as far as possible. I’m no fan of Risch – but this guy Malloy is not a friend of conservatives, and never will be.

  4. With the exception of Fulcher the rest need to retire. Simpson, Risch and Crapo are worthless career do nothing’s. I want my representatives making waves, make the headlines, make Idaho’s voice heard. We won’t even talk about Little. Bundy has a video out about ID being the first state to arrest a pastor, first to arrest a mom for taking her children to the park and several other tyrannical practices. We need some America first candidates to replace these talk right move left losers


    Sadly, Idaho is a mini version of the DC sewer, and most of our state politicians stink equally as much as our US Federal politicians Crapo, Risch and Simpson. Fulcher is the only one who resembles a conservative.

    Bundy and Cleveland have my vote in Nov.

  6. I have called Risch and Crapo several times and said to both aides I would like a response to my calls. After several calls with no response I must conclude that they are too busy to respond and I’m too busy to vote for them.
    The only time I hear from them, is when they want a donation. I must agree they are absolutely worthless.

  7. Why in heaven’s name is Chuck Malloy given so much space at Idaho Dispatch? He doesn’t even mention the Steve Cleveland as Crapo’s opponent–some columnist….

    Let me help you with some math, Chuck:

    There was approximately 30% of the Republican base that did NOT vote for Crapo in the primary. Those 30% are not likely to vote for him in the general. For a mental math exercise, let’s keep it simple and say those 30% show up and vote for Cleveland.

    In Idaho, Democrats typically get around 33% of the vote cast for state-wide offices. Let’s assume those numbers hold and 33% cast ballots for the Democrat candidate.

    Let’s throw in 2-3% of the vote goes Libertarian or “other.” Altogether, that’s about 65% of the vote accounted for, leaving Crapo with 35%. Let’s assume he gets all 35%–meaning Crapo could, at best, be ahead 5 points. Maybe more, maybe less. Who knows? But I can say this: on Election Day, even though Crapo and company may know how many Republicans will have early voted or absentee voted, they will have no idea how many are for Crapo and how many for Cleveland. It could be a long election night for them. Keep them guessing: flood the zone and vote on election day, NOT before!!

    Considering 3% is margin-of-error territory, I’d say Crapo may very well have a dark horse he’s not, in his hubris, paying attention to.

    We can do this, Idahoans: we can get rid of one RINO US Senator if we understand the numbers. Don’t believe you’re splitting the vote by voting for Cleveland—you’re helping to put a RINO US Senator out to pasture….

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