After starting off nice, it turned into a bitter campaign.  For the first time in our state's 125 year history, two candidates from the same party opposed each other on a Congressional ballot.

With the retirement of Doc Hastings after over two decades of impressive service in the House of Representatives, a host of candidates came out to try their hand.  After the primary,  it quickly narrowed down to Clint Didier, and Dan Newhouse.

Didier was the grassroots, TEA Party backed candidate, with endorsements from Sarah Palin, Freedomworks,  Ron Paul and other known conservatives.  Newhouse, former State Agriculture Director under Gov. Gregoire and previously a state legislator, had the support of former Senator Slade Gorton and  Doc himself.

Like many races across America,  it came down to an ultra-conservative vs. the "party" candidate.    The only thing we really learned from this race was just how divided the GOP is these days.   Newhouse won by the slimmest of margins, just a few thousand votes.

While Didier received the vast majority of his financial support from citizens,  Newhouse received the big chunks of cash,  he had over 32 PAC's (political action committees) most from out of state, who contributed.

Newhouse managed to survive a mini-scandal, as his Grant County Campaign manager Chris Vogt, was fined $10,000 by the Washington State Executive Ethics board.   Didier accused Vogt, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Board, of utilizing state resources from the board to campaign for Newhouse.   He was also accused of making it look like in campaign literature and emails to potential voters, that the Board endorsed Newhouse.   The potato board's only job is to further the growth and exports of the Washington state potato industry.

He also survived a late election season incident involving controversial campaign ads.  Former Senator Slade Gorton's Washington's Future PAC spent over $55,000 for radio and TV ads that called Didier's views "weird and extreme."   Didier is known for defending the property, gun and other rights of citizens, and being a staunch believer in the Constitution.  It was these ads that prodded many voters to view Newhouse as the "establishment" candidate.

 A local television station also ran a story about whether Newhouse's campaign ads were "truthful" in the way they portrayed Didier.   While Newhouse himself stayed "above" the fray, and said he and Didier were not that different in their views, the words and actions of his campaign staff and ads clearly showed he was the "establishment" candidate.

If you didn't know Newhouse was a Republican, you would have often thought he was a Democratic candidate, based upon his radio ads.   What helped him squeeze by Didier was extensive support from the agricultural industry.  Newhouse was a very effective leader in the Department of Agriculture.  However,  Didier's campaign effectively raised doubts about Newhouse being part of the unpopular GOP "establishment" and lumped him in with Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

Only the future knows how effective Newhouse will be.   But the one thing, as we said earlier, we learned from this campaign is that the GOP here in Eastern Washington - as well as across America - is very fractured.  On one side, the fed-up citizens who want their freedoms back, and are fighting against Obamacare, gun control etc.  On the other, an ineffective and spineless mainstream party that can't seem to stand up for anything; a party that is also more than willing to use it's resources to crush any opposing voices and those who are "too conservative."

More From 870 AM KFLD