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Who are the Republicans running for state senator in Twin Falls? Hartgen faces hard-right primary challenge

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 16, 2024

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Linda Hartgen is seeking a second term in the Idaho State Senate. She faces a primary challenge from Josh Kohl in a race that will decide the presumptive Senator for District 25, which is comprised largely of the city of Twin Falls.

  • Linda Wright Hartgen is seeking a second term in the Idaho State Senate
  • Josh Kohl is challenging Hartgen from the right in the Republican Primary on May 21
  • Both candidates appeared at the Candidate Forum hosted by the College of Southern Idaho in April. Full video of all the candidates at the event is available here.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Twin Falls voters may recognize the name Linda Wright Hartgen on their Pepublican primary ballot next week.

She served two terms in the House before winning a Senate seat in 2022.

“I'm pro-local control, pro-parental rights, pro-education all of those things are so important to me,” Hartgen said.

I met with Hartgen at her home, where she told me her career as a trial court administrator helped her carry bills through the Senate, like the agriculture protection bill.

“It's a good plan that if you want to stay farming in your farm for 20 years, at least you can file a petition with the county commissioners,” Hartgen said. “And they will look at it and vote on it to approve it or not, but they'll put it in their overlay of their future plans for the county.”

Hartgen supported the Idaho Launch bill, which makes funding available to graduating high school seniors who are seeking trade school certificates for in-demand careers.

“To me, it's a hand up for an Idaho kid to keep in Idaho,” Hartgen said.

Hartgen's primary challenger is Josh Kohl. I reached out to Josh by phone, left voice mails, sent text messages, and even sent several emails to the address on his campaign card. I never heard back.

However, I did catch Kohl at the candidate forum held in April at the College of Southern Idaho, where he said he would have voted against Idaho launch.

"Once the government gets a little involved, it's just going to get more and more involved,” Kohl said, “Now that's not a problem for the corporations that are pushing for this, because at the end of the day, they are going to get workers on the taxpayer dime."

Kohlalso said he would have supported HB710, the new library law that aims to make certain materials inaccessible to minors.

Hartgen told me why she voted no.

“I just personally feel that our libraries are doing a fantastic job,” Hartgen said. “I've been in all of the libraries around here. I've met with all of the boards all of the librarians you don't they're doing a stellar job. And nobody's handing out literature to kids that isn't good for them.”