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NATIONAL ELECTION RETURNS : EDITION-TIME COMPILATIONS : State-by-State Election Reports of Key Races and Issues : Idaho

November 05, 1986

BOISE — Former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus regained what he has called "the best political job in the whole world," but outgoing Democratic Gov. John V. Evans failed to unseat Republican Sen. Steven D. Symms.

The final days of the Senate campaign, at $5 million the most expensive in state history, saw Symms and Evans call each other liars and practitioners of dirty campaign tactics.

"What (the election) really says is that the people of Idaho have decided who the honest candidate really was," Symms, 48, who received a last-minute campaign visit by President Reagan, said early today.

"The string has to come to an end sometime," Evans, 61, said of his first loss in a career that has spanned more than three decades.

Symms received 52% of the vote and Evans had 48%.

Andrus, 55, a former Interior secretary in the Carter Administration, barely held off 39-year-old GOP Lt. Gov. David Leroy.

With 99% of the votes counted, Andrus had 190,020 votes or 50% to Leroy's 186,913 or 50%.

The state's two congressmen both won reelection.

Despite a massive get-out-the-vote drive by organized labor, voters overwhelmingly approved retention of the state's ban on mandatory union membership. The right-to-work measure became law last year.

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