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Posts published in “Day: March 2, 2006”

WA Senate, staying the course

There seems to have been no serious change in the Washington Senate race for months, ever since it adopted its general Cantwell/McGavick structure: Cantwell has shown a strong, decisive lead every time out. Half a year or so after McGavick's entry, the numbers seem, in general, not to have budged.

More details, many more, come from a look at the crosstabs in a post at the liberal Horse's Ass. The poll is the Elway poll, which has a decent record, and the results comport with what we've seen before. But In this post, Goldy posts more of the details than we've seen before.

Newcomb’s out

Bruce Newcomb, who has been speaker of the Idaho House longer than anyone in the state's history, is headed out: He has announced his retirement.

Bruce Newcomb"Announce" is one of those portentious verbs used a lot in press releases and regularly deleted from mention here at Ridenbaugh Press; but in this case the Newcomb announcement carries the weight. He has been an important figure in Idaho government for nearly all of the 20 years he has been in the Idaho House; he has been in leadership most of that time. Position doesn't account for it all, though.

A usually affable guy, well-liked personally by many in the statehouse, he has managed to keep the tone in the House lighter, on many occasions, than it might otherwise have been. He seems to have capped, early on, any ambition for higher office than he has had, and to an uncommon degree has been willing to put the interests of others first. (Exhibit one would be his good friend Mike Simpson, who probably would not have been a sucessful speaker and later a member of Congress but for the unglamorous work Newcomb did, as Simpson's majority leader, for so many years.) If he merits some long-run criticism for making decisions that have blocked useful progress on taxes and some other subject, he also has been extremely useful in other areas, notably water law.

The departure of all that is half of what makes this announcement an announcement. The other half has to do with what's next. (more…)

Primary kickback

Every state has its hard-to-explain peculiarities: "Why do they do it that way?" "uh ... because there were never enough votes in the Legislature to change it, I guess ..."

One of Washington's has been the mid-September primary election date, which neverhad many defenders and might have been changes years ago except that there were always just enough people opposed to any single one of the realistic options. But no more. The Senate, which for long has kept status quo in this area, gave way today, and - starting next year, unfortunately not this one - the state's voters will have a decent interval between primary and general.

Does that matter, you ask? Secretary of State Sam Reed said that "Moving the Primary from September to August is a win for the people and for democracy itself."

That is because, as his office noted, "Under current law, election workers have less than three weeks after the State Primary is certified to hold recounts, address election contests, hire election board workers, test voting equipment, format and print ballots for the General Election, and finalize and mail Voters' Pamphlets. Election workers have just four or five days between certification of the Primary and the date that military and overseas ballots must be mailed." With resuls like those noted in 2004, when overseas military ballots arrived too late to be counted. Shouldn't happen under this change.

The immediate celebration over this passage (still needs signature of the governor, but that is almost certain) is in state elections offices. Should extend much further.