BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson was on his way to winning his 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, beating rivals who sought unsuccessfully to capitalize on voter anger linked to his 2008 vote for federal bank bailouts.
With a quarter of precincts in, Simpson had nearly 60 percent. [See who is donating money to Simpson's campaign.]
Chick Heileson, from Iona, had 22 percent, while state Rep. Russ Mathews, of Idaho Falls, was in third.
In November, Simpson will face Mike Crawford, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Heileson and Mathews tried to make hay of Simpson's October 2008 vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, President Bush's $700 billion plan to unfreeze credit markets.
With Simpson's win, however, GOP foes failed yet again to mount a serious challenge.
Simpson, a former dentist from Blackfoot, has won handily since voters first sent him to Congress in 1998.