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The Risch campaign dismissed his candidacy. “I’d say he’s more of a sideshow than anything else,” Mr. White said.

A fifth candidate, Kent Marmon, is running as a Libertarian. Although the third-party candidates appear to pose little threat to Mr. Risch, there was a stir after all three reported receiving calls from Republicans urging them to drop out of the race.

Pro-Life, an organic strawberry farmer, said he was contacted by Rep. Bill Sali, a Republican, who’s locked in a tight re-election bid.

“He said, ‘Marvin - he calls me Marvin, he won’t call me Pro-Life - I think you need to get out of this race because the Democrats believe LaRocco can beat Risch,’” Pro-Life said. “It made no sense to me.”

Mr. White denied that the campaign was behind the calls. Mr. Sali could not be reached for comment.

It’s certainly possible that Pro-Life could draw anti-abortion voters from Mr. Risch or perhaps confuse them into voting for two candidates, thus nullifying their ballots.

State legislators were sufficiently concerned to pass a law earlier this year stipulating that candidates whose names reflect a political position would also have to be identified by their former names.

As a result, Pro-Life will appear on the ballot as “Pro-Life (a person formerly known as Marvin Richardson),” according to the office of the Idaho secretary of state.

It’s hard to imagine other states grappling with such issues, but such is life on the 2008 campaign trail in Idaho.

“I’m afraid there’s never a dull moment,” Mr. White said.