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2024 primaries to watch: Lenney, Agenbroad vie for Idaho’s District 13 Senate GOP nomination

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2024 primaries to watch: Lenney, Agenbroad vie for Idaho’s District 13 Senate GOP nomination

May 15, 2024 | 6:30 am ET
By Kyle Pfannenstiel
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2024 primaries to watch: Lenney, Agenbroad vie for Idaho’s District 32 Senate GOP nomination
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Sen. Brian Lenney (left), a first-term senator, is part of the Idaho Freedom Caucus. Jeff Agenbroad (Right), a former state senator, served as co-chair of the Legislature’s powerful budget-setting panel, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. (Photos courtesy of Idaho Legislature)

In the Republican primary for District 13, state senator, both candidates have served as Republican state lawmakers.

But they come from different factions of the GOP: Hardline and establishment.

Sen. Brian Lenney, a first-term senator, is part of the Idaho Freedom Caucus. Jeff Agenbroad, a former state senator, served as co-chair of the Legislature’s powerful budget-setting panel, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

The race has drawn endorsements from top state Republican elected officials. Lenney was endorsed by Attorney General Raúl Labrador, and Agenbroad was endorsed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield, as reported by Idaho Education News. 

Need more 2024 Idaho primary election information?

Check out IdahoVotes.gov for information on polling places, voter registration, early voting locations, candidate filings, campaign finance records and more.

In 2022, Lenney defeated Agenbroad. Agenbroad was first elected as District 13’s senator in 2016.

Lenney and Agenbroad, combined, have raised more than $114,000. Idaho legislative candidates this year have surpassed funds raised during previous primary elections, the Idaho Capital Sun previously reported.

Agenbroad has raised $62,522 — with $20,000 in loans — with about $48,000 in his campaign fund by May 10, according to the Idaho Secretary of State’s campaign finance database. More than $30,000 of Agenbroad’s contributions came from individuals, while $19,050 came from companies and $8,100 came from political committees.

Lenney has raised $52,317, with about $31,000 in his campaign fund by May 10, the Secretary of State’s Office data shows. Over $42,000 of Lenney’s donations came from individuals, with $6,600 coming from companies and $1,750 from political committees.

Agenbroad’s campaign funds include nearly $5,600 in out-of-state contributions. Agenbroad’s top donors include Crookham Company in Caldwell and Ball Ventures in Idaho Falls — which each donated $1,000. Bayerpac in Sacramento, California, donated $1,000 to Agenbroad, along with Clearwater Paper in Spokane, Washington, and Carl Crabtree, a former Republican state senator in Grangeville.

Lenney received $7,323 in out-of-state contributions and reported no loans, the Idaho Secretary of State Office’s data shows.

Lenney’s top donors include Boise Black Rifle in Meridian and Think Liberty Idaho Pac in Caldwell — which contributed $2,000 each. Lenney also received $1,000 donations from several contributors including Doyle Beck, the legislative District 32 chairman for the Idaho Republican Party. 

Here are Lenney and Agenbroad’s responses to the Idaho Capital Sun’s legislative primary questionnaire. We asked candidates to limit responses to 100 words. 

Question 1: What are the top three issues that inspired you to run for office?

Lenney: Health Freedom, Education Freedom, Economic Freedom

Agenbroad: Improve and preserve public safety, properly fund Idaho education, minimize the tax burden on Idaho taxpayers

Question 2: Idaho’s abortion law is one of the strictest in the nation, and many doctors and hospital administrators have said it has made recruitment and retention of OB-GYNs and maternal-fetal medicine specialists even more difficult, especially in rural areas. Do you support any legislation, such as health exceptions, that would amend or clarify Idaho’s abortion law?

Lenney: No

Agenbroad: I am pro life and support the exceptions in the existing law, including the health and life of the mother. The law is currently before the Supreme Court. If the court rules the exception for the health of the mother is too vague, I would support clarifying the exceptions for the health of the mother consistent with the original intent of the law.   

Question 3: Do you support public dollars being used for private education, including through tax credits or education savings accounts available to parents, or any other means? Why or why or not?

Idaho state Sen. Brian Lenney, R-Nampa,
Idaho state Sen. Brian Lenney, R-Nampa, listens to proceedings at the State Capitol building in Boise on Jan. 8, 2024. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Lenney: Taxpayer money should directly benefit students and families, ensuring they have the freedom to choose the best educational path, rather than being locked into one-size-fits-all government institutions. In Idaho, we’re already doing this with programs like Idaho Launch, and other programs which fund tuition for private religious schools. This is just the beginning. We need to expand these opportunities, giving Idaho families the power to choose schools that align with their values and meet their children’s specific needs. It’s time to fully embrace school choice and open the doors to a tailored, effective education for every student in Idaho.

Sen. Jeff Agenbroad
Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa, listens to debate at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Agenbroad: I support school choice, however I do not support reducing Idaho’s financial commitment to funding public education. I would consider supporting Idaho education outside of the public school arena if we address the Blaine amendment in our Constitution, are willing to increase total education funding to cover these additional costs, and provide accountability for the use of Idaho tax dollars. 

Question 4: Transgender people and LGBTQ+ advocates in Idaho have testified that policies, such as redefining sex and gender, criminalizing doctors for providing gender-affirming care to youth, among others, are harmful to the transgender community and undermine their existence. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Lenney: I disagree. Because, science.

Agenbroad: We are all created equally and with our own uniqueness.  I oppose creating special classes that drive wedges in society.  I oppose providing gender affirming care that will permanently alter the bodies of our youth and oppose the use of public dollars for these procedures.

Question 5: According to the 2024 Boise State University Idaho public policy survey, Idahoans continue to be concerned about a range of issues surrounding growth, housing and economic security. As a legislator, what specific steps would you take to address those concerns?

Lenney: I’d love to get rid of the grocery tax and income tax for starters. 

Agenbroad: As a legislator I recognize the majority of issues surrounding growth are governed by our local municipalities. I support policies that encourage the local municipalities to manage growth in their community appropriately and allow growth to pay for itself. As a state, Idaho provides very little support for workforce housing. During the 2022 legislative session I sponsored legislation that established a $50 million revolving loan fund available to private and nonprofit developers to develop workforce housing in communities throughout Idaho. I support free market solutions to these issues and will continue to govern in a manner that places the least reliance on government possible. I will also continue Idaho’s efforts to remove and revise the regulator burdens that may hinder free market solutions to properly managing Idaho’s growth.