Branden John Durst (born January 15, 1980) is a Democratic politician from Tacoma, Washington. He was born in Boise, Idaho. Durst represented Idaho's 18th Legislative District (south and southeast Boise) in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2006 to 2010. Durst was elected to the Idaho Senate in 2012 after an unsuccessful 2010 effort. Until his December 2013 resignation he was the youngest member of the Idaho Senate. Durst lives in Tacoma, Washington.
Personal and early life
Durst was born at St. Luke's Hospital in Boise, Idaho in 1980. He grew up in southeast Boise attending its public schools and was a third generation graduate of Boise High School. During his childhood and youth Durst was actively involved in many activities including club soccer, baseball, wrestling, DECA, Young Life, and assorted church activities.
While an undergraduate at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), Durst was awarded a scholarship for speech and debate in which he won several individual and team awards. While attending PLU, Durst was hired by the Washington State Attorney General's Office, Consumer Protection Division. He also served as a policy intern for the American Counseling Association in Alexandria, Virginia. Academically, he earned a bachelor or arts degree in political science and a minor in communication.
After graduating from PLU, Branden attended graduate school at Kent State University and Claremont Graduate University where he studied public policy analysis and international political economy, respectively. He returned to Boise, and subsequently enrolled at Boise State University (BSU) where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree. While enrolled at BSU, Durst earned an academic scholarship from the Department of Public Policy and Administration and a research assistantship from the Department of Economics.
Branden is married and has two sons and a daughter. Professionally Branden works as small business owner and consultant. He is an Evangelical Christian and attends Calvary Baptist Church in Tacoma, Washington.
In the Idaho Senate Durst served as a member of the following committees:
- Agricultural Affairs
- Commerce and Human Resources
Durst was also a member of the joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee (EORAC).
Durst first ran for the Idaho Legislature in 2006 when he challenged then six-term incumbent Debbie Field. Field had also taken on the responsibility of serving as campaign manager for the gubernatorial campaign of C. L. "Butch" Otter. Durst won the race by a slim 176-vote margin.
In 2008, Durst had become one of the top targets of the Idaho Republican Party. This prompted five-term legislator Julie Ellsworth to challenge Durst. Ellsworth, who had lost in 2006 to Democrat Phylis King. Durst defeated Ellsworth by a 51/49 margin.
In 2010, Durst ran for the open seat in the Idaho Senate in his southeast Boise district vacated by Kate Kelly, but lost to Republican Mitch Toryanski by 103 votes. Fellow Democrat Janie Ward-Engelking ran for Durst's House seat, but lost by a nine-vote margin to Ellsworth.
In January 2012 Durst announced his intention to run against Toryanski again. He defeated Toryanski in the 2012 rematch by a 53-46 margin.
On November 20, 2013, Durst submitted his resignation from the Idaho Senate effective December 1, 2013, to Gov. Butch Otter. Earlier in 2013 it was reported Durst was splitting his time between Boise and the Seattle area, where his family had relocated. He was succeeded by Ward-Engelking.