| United States Senator |
January 3, 2009
Servingwith Mike Crapo
|Preceded by||Larry Craig|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee|
January 20, 2021
|Preceded by||Bob Menendez|
|Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee|
January 3, 2019 –January 20, 2021
|Preceded by||Bob Corker|
|Succeeded by||Bob Menendez|
|Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee|
January 3, 2017 –January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||David Vitter|
|Succeeded by||Marco Rubio|
|31st Governor of Idaho|
May 26, 2006 –January 1, 2007
|Preceded by||Dirk Kempthorne|
|Succeeded by||Butch Otter|
|39th and 41st Lieutenant Governor of Idaho|
January 1, 2007 –January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Mark Ricks|
|Succeeded by||Brad Little|
January 3, 2003 –May 26, 2006
|Preceded by||Jack Riggs|
|Succeeded by||Mark Ricks|
|36th President pro tempore of the Idaho Senate|
|Preceded by||Reed Budge|
|Succeeded by||Mike Crapo|
|Member of the Idaho Senate |
from the 18th district
|Preceded by||Roger Madsen|
|Succeeded by||Sheila Sorensen|
|Member of the Idaho Senate |
from the 21st district
|Succeeded by||Mike Burkett|
|Prosecuting Attorney of Ada County|
James Elroy Risch
May 3, 1943
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Education|| University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee |
University of Idaho (BS, JD)
|Net worth||$20.8 million (2019)|
James Elroy Risch ( // RISH; born May 3, 1943) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Idaho since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he served as lieutenant governor of Idaho from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2009, and as governor of Idaho from 2006 to 2007.
Prior to his career in politics, Risch was a prosecuting attorney and taught criminal law at Boise State University.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Risch is the son of Helen B. (née Levi) and Elroy A. Risch, a lineman for Wisconsin Bell. His father is of German descent and his mother is of Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry.Risch attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee from 1961 to 1963 and then transferred to the University of Idaho in Moscow, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He obtained a B.S. degree in forestry in 1965, and continued his education at the university's College of Law. He served on the Law Review and the College of Law Advisory Committee before receiving a J.D. degree in 1968.
Risch entered politics in 1970 in Boise at age 27, winning election as Ada County Prosecuting Attorney. While serving in this capacity, he taught undergraduate classes in criminal justice at Boise State College and served as the president of the state's prosecuting attorneys' association. Concurrent with his service in the Idaho Senate, Risch became a millionaire as one of Idaho's most successful trial lawyers.
Risch was first elected to the Idaho Senate from Ada County in 1974. He entered the state senate leadership in 1976, serving as majority leader and later as president pro tempore.
In a dramatic upset, Risch was defeated for reelection in 1988 by Democratic political newcomer and Boise attorney Mike Burkett. As of mid-2006, it remains Idaho's most expensive legislative contest.
In the second political defeat of his career, Risch lost the 1994 primary election for a state Senate seat to Roger Madsen. Risch returned to the state senate in 1995, as an appointee of Governor Phil Batt, who had named Madsen as the state commerce department's director.
In January 2001, Risch had his eye on the lieutenant governor's seat vacated by Butch Otter, who resigned after being elected to Congress, but Governor Dirk Kempthorne appointed state Senator Jack Riggs of Coeur d'Alene to the post instead. The next year, Risch defeated Riggs in the Republican primary and won the general election, spending $360,000 of his own money on the campaign.
On May 26, 2006, Risch became governor of Idaho when Kempthorne resigned to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Risch appointed Mark Ricks to serve as his lieutenant governor.Risch served out the remaining seven months of Kempthorne's term, which ended in January 2007.
In August 2006, Risch called a special session of the Idaho Legislature to consider his proposed property tax reform bill, the Property Tax Relief Act of 2006.
Risch was expected to enter the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary to succeed Kempthorne, who was completing his second term at this time of his federal appointment. But Otter had already announced his candidacy for the position in December 2004 and gained a significant head start in campaigning and fundraising. In November 2005, Risch announced his intention to seek election again as lieutenant governor.
Risch was unopposed for the 2006 Republican nomination for lieutenant governor and defeated former Democratic U.S. representative Larry LaRocco in the general election. Risch's term as governor ended in January 2007 and he returned to the role of lieutenant governor. He resigned as lieutenant governor to take his seat in the Senate on January 3, 2009. Otter named state Senator Brad Little of Emmett as Risch's successor.
On August 31, 2007, the Associated Press reported that Governor Otter might appoint Risch to the United States Senate to succeed the embattled Larry Craig. On September 1, the Idaho Statesman reported that Otter's spokesman denied Risch had been selected and that Otter had "made no decision and he is not leaning toward anybody."On October 9, Risch announced that he would run for the Senate seat. In May 2008, Risch was nominated as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. In the general election he defeated former Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocco with 58% of the vote.
Risch won the Republican primary with 79.9% of the voteand defeated attorney Nels Mitchell in the general election with 65.3% of the vote.
Risch was unopposed in the 2020 Republican primary.He defeated Democratic nominee Paulette Jordan in the general election with 62% of the vote.
Risch was one of four freshmen Republican senators in the 111th Congress of 2009, with Mike Johanns of Nebraska, George LeMieux of Florida and Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho called Risch "results-oriented".
In 2017, Risch was one of 22 senators to sign a letterto President Donald Trump urging him to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.
On August 11, 2017, in an interview on PBS Newshour , Risch endorsed Trump's threatening North Korea with military destruction in the event that country launched missiles at Guam.
On March 22, 2018, the day before a potential federal government shutdown, Risch threatened to block a government spending bill because it included changing the name of the White Clouds Wilderness protected area to honor a deceased political rival, former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus.Risch ultimately acquiesced.
In January 2019, Risch joined Marco Rubio, Cory Gardner, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in introducing legislation that would impose sanctions on the government of President of Syria Bashar al-Assad and bolster American cooperation with Israel and Jordan.
On January 21, 2020, during the first day of opening arguments in Trump's Senate impeachment trial, Risch was the first senator to fall asleep. Courtroom sketch artist Art Lien memorialized his nap.
In 2020, while Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Risch decided not to press Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify at the annual budget hearing. Pompeo had just successfully sought to have State Department inspector general Steve Linick fired; at the time, Linick had been conducting a watchdog investigation into the Trump administration's decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.
Risch was participating in the certification of the 2021 United States Electoral College count when Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. He called the attack "unpatriotic and un-American in the extreme" and suggested it was sparred by "deep distrust in the integrity and veracity of our elections."
In 2019, Risch sought to quell dissent among Republican senators over what they perceived as the Trump administration's weak response to the killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi, and its refusal to send Congress a report on the administration's determination of who killed Khashoggi. He told his fellow Republican senators and Politico that the Trump administration was in compliance with the Magnitsky Act, but the administration had said that it refused to comply with the Act.
In March 2018, Risch co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which would make it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank if protesting actions by the Israeli government.
Risch is a co-sponsor of S.1241, the Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019, which is intended to punish Turkey and protect allies like the Kurds who have suffered from recent Turkish military operations in Syria, including by resettling them in the United States.The measure has broad support in Congress, which is concerned about the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system Turkey is testing.
Responding to Antony Blinken#Foreign policy's opening statement at the confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, Risch said that it was "music to my ears."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(January 2021)
Risch is anti-abortion.In 2013, he co-sponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would have made it illegal for a minor to cross state lines for an abortion.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) endorsed Risch and gave him an A+ grade for his voting record on gun issues.
In 2013, along with 12 other Republican Senators, Risch threatened to filibuster any bills Democrats introduced that Republicans perceived as a threat to gun rights, including expanded background checks. In an interview with National Public Radio, he said that Americans' right to keep and bear arms includes "a right to purchase one [a gun], to sell one, to trade in one, and you really have to have a robust market if indeed you're going to have a constitutional right." He also said that additional background checks would mean that gun dealers would "have to deal with the federal bureaucracy, which is very, very difficult to deal with."
In response to the Orlando nightclub shooting, Risch and Crapo said the shooting was not a reason to call for gun control legislation.
In 2016, Risch voted against the Feinstein Amendment, which would have blocked the sale of guns to people on the terrorist watch list, and Democrat Chris Murphy's proposal to expand background checks for sales at gun shows and online. Risch voted for both Republican-backed bills, John Cornyn's proposal to create a 72-hour delay for anyone on the terrorist watchlist buying a gun and Charles Grassley and Ted Cruz's proposal to alert authorities if a someone on the list tries to buy a firearm.
Risch opposed the FIRST STEP Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. The bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018.
Risch supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.He voted against the ACA in 2010.
On May 21, 2020, Risch introduced S. 3829, the Global Health Security and Diplomacy Act, but it did not receive a vote. In opening the confirmation hearings for Secretary Antony Blinken, Risch emphasized it as a legislative and foreign policy priority, given the "catastrophic failure at every level" of global health security infrastructure. The bill's supporters claim it would "improve coordination among the relevant Federal departments and agencies implementing United States foreign assistance for global health security, and more effectively enable partner countries to strengthen and sustain resilient health systems and supply chains with the resources, capacity, and personnel required to prevent, detect, mitigate, and respond to infectious disease threats before they become pandemics, and for other purposes."
|Idaho State Senate District 18 Republican Primary election, 1996|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||2,299||76.0%|
|Republican||Emil Loya, Jr.||709||24.0%|
|Idaho State Senate District 18 election, 1996|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||9,543||67.5%|
|Idaho State Senate District 18 Republican Primary election, 1998|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||2,656||67.4%|
|Idaho State Senate District 18 election, 1998|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||8,742||76.0%|
|Idaho State Senate District 18 Republican Primary election, 2000|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||3,222||50.4%|
|Idaho State Senate District 18 election, 2000|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||12,917||80.3%|
|Idaho Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary election, 2002|
|Idaho Lieutenant Governor election, 2002|
|Idaho Lieutenant Governor election, 2006|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||259,648||58.3%|
|Constitution||William Charles Wellisch||10,460||2.4%|
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Idaho, 2008|
|Republican||Hal James Styles, Jr.||2,082||1.7%|
|U.S. Senate election in Idaho, 2008|
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Idaho, 2014|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||119,209||79.9%|
|Republican||Jeremy "T" Anderson||29,939||20.1%|
|U.S. Senate election in Idaho, 2014|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||285,596||65.3%|
|U.S. Senate election in Idaho, 2020|
|Republican||Jim Risch (inc.)||537,445||62.6%|
Lawrence Edwin Craig is a retired American politician from the state of Idaho. A Republican, he served 18 years in the United States Senate (1991–2009), preceded by 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Idaho's 1st District (1981–91). His 28 years in Congress rank as the second-longest in Idaho history, trailing only William Borah, who served over 32 years in the Senate. In addition to serving in Congress, Craig has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association since 1983. Craig was selected for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame in 2007.
Michael Dean Crapo is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Idaho, a seat he was first elected to in 1998. A Republican, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Idaho's 2nd congressional district from 1993 to 1999.
Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter is an American businessman and politician who served as the 32nd governor of Idaho from 2007 to 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected in 2006, and reelected in 2010, and 2014. Otter served as lieutenant governor from 1987 to 2001 and in U.S. Congress from the first district from 2001 to 2007.
Michael Keith Simpson is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Idaho's 2nd congressional district since 1999. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in the 1998 elections, succeeding Mike Crapo. Simpson previously served as an Idaho State Representative (1984–1998) and was Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives from 1992 to 1998.
Dirk Arthur Kempthorne is an American politician who served as the 49th United States Secretary of the Interior from 2006 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Idaho from 1993 to 1999 and the 30th Governor of Idaho from 1999 to 2006.
The Idaho gubernatorial election of 2006 was held on November 7, 2006. Incumbent Governor Jim Risch succeeded Dirk Kempthorne, who resigned May 26 to become Secretary of the Interior. Risch served as governor until the end of the term, but had committed to a reelection campaign for Lieutenant Governor before Kempthorne's appointment and subsequent resignation.
Larry LaRocco is an American politician who served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Idaho's 1st congressional district. LaRocco ran for lieutenant governorship in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2008; he was defeated by Jim Risch in the general election both times.
Robert L. Geddes was a Republican member of the Idaho Senate, representing District 31 from 1995 to 2011. He was a resident of Soda Springs. In 2011, Geddes resigned from the Idaho Senate to accept an appointment to the Idaho Tax Commission where he served for one year. He later served as the Director of the Department of Administration under Governor Butch Otter, retiring in 2018.
Jack Timothy Riggs is a Republican politician from Idaho. He served as the 38th Lieutenant Governor of Idaho from 2001 to 2003.
Mark George Ricks was a Republican politician from Idaho. He served as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Idaho from June 2006 to January 2007.
The 2008 United States Senate election in Idaho was held on November 4, 2008. The primary elections were held on May 27. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Larry Craig decided to retire instead of seeking a fourth term. Republican Jim Risch won the open seat.
Bradley Jay Little is an American politician serving as the 33rd Governor of Idaho since January 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of Idaho from 2009 to 2019. Little served in the Idaho Senate from 2001 to 2009 where he chaired the majority caucus and represented Legislative Districts 8 and 11. He won the 2018 gubernatorial election against Democratic nominee Paulette Jordan, the seventh straight gubernatorial victory for the Republican Party in Idaho.
Russell Mark Fulcher is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Idaho's 1st congressional district since 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served in the Idaho Senate where he represented Legislative District 21 from 2005 to 2012 and Legislative District 22 from 2012 until 2014.
Melinda S. Smyser is an American politician who served as a member of the Idaho Senate from 2009 to 2012, representing District 11. Smyser previously served as Director of the Idaho Department of Labor and currently serves as the director of Idaho Office of Drug Policy.
Some type of election in Idaho occurs annually in each of the state’s cities and towns, the exact type of which is dependent on the year. Elections for federal and statewide offices occur in even-numbered years, while municipal elections occur in odd-numbered years.
A general election was held in the U.S. state of Idaho on November 4, 2014. All of Idaho's executive officers are up for election as well as a United States Senate seat, and both of Idaho's two seats in the United States House of Representatives. Primary elections was held on May 20, 2014.
The 2020 United States Senate election in Idaho was held on November 3, 2020, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of Idaho, concurrently with the 2020 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the United States Senate, elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican Senator Jim Risch won reelection to a third term in office, defeating Democratic nominee Paulette Jordan, who, percentage wise, had the worst performance of a Democratic senatorial candidate for this seat since 2002. However, Risch also performed nearly three points worse than he did in 2014.
David Charles Nye is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. He was a judge of the Sixth District of Idaho for ten years, preceded by twenty years of private practice in Idaho.
The 2018 Idaho gubernatorial election took place on November 6 to elect the next governor of Idaho. Incumbent Republican Governor Butch Otter chose not to run for a fourth term, and the state's primaries were held on May 15.
George Richard Bevan is the Chief Judge of the Idaho Supreme Court. He previously served as an Idaho district court judge from 2003 to 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jim Risch .|
| Lieutenant Governor of Idaho |
| Governor of Idaho |
| Lieutenant Governor of Idaho |
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Idaho |
2008, 2014, 2020
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Idaho |
Served alongside: Mike Crapo
| Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee |
| Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee |
| Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee |
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority |
|111th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • W. Minnick|
|112th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Labrador|
|113th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Labrador|
|115th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Labrador|
|115th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Labrador|
|116th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Fulcher|
|117th||Senate: M. Crapo • J. Risch||House: M. Simpson • R. Fulcher|