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Posts published in “Day: May 23, 2006”

Republicans, mostly to the right

Soon enough we'll get to the general election implications of Bill Sali's win of the Republican primary for the 1st U.S. House district. Those, and what it says about the first district itself.

For the moment, though, let's reflect on the primary results as such, and for both Republicans and Democrats some prevailing trends suggest themselves.

Bill SaliGenerally speaking, this primary was good for hard-line social conservatives. Sali was Exhibit A: He posited the race explicitly as himself - defined as a sort of purist conservative - against Sheila Sorensen, loosely defined as a moderate or liberal or something equally unsavory. His final appeal is that the winner will be him or her, and true conservatives would know what to do. The religious conservative front certainly did, from the appeals on the anti-abortion front to the Alan Keys event in Kootenai County last weekend. Sali's win was part of an organized effort, and it should be no surprise that the effort bore fruit elsewhere too. Our suspicion (voiced in this space) was that just such support would allow Sali to outrun the indicators of polls.

There were other exhibits of this too, on Tuesday night. Phil Hart, hardcorne on the tax and social front in the Panhandle was challenged by the veteran legislator, Wayne Meyer, he beat two years ago; the win then seemed almost a fluke, attendant in part to Meyer's not paying enough attention. Hart's smackdown of Meyer this time shows that nothing fluky was involved. In Gem County, Kathy Skippen's loss to Steven Thayne was another takedown of a relative centrist in the House Republican caucus by a candidate far to the right. (more…)

Has Sali got it?

At the Huckleberries blog out of the Spokesman Review, Dave Oliveria has written - twice - that if state Representative Bill Sali hits the north with something close to a majority, he will probably win, because the population base in that area will head his direction.

He's likely right, and now just that appears to be happening. With just over half of the 1st congressional district precincts counted, Sali is ahead at 26.7% of the vote (by seven percentage points and about a 2,500 raw vote lead) over Sheila Sorensen, who is barely ahead of third-place Keith Johnson.

The problem Sorensen and Johnson both have right now is: What should be their best pools of votes are largely tapped. Where do they go from here to catch up? If Sali hasn't got it wrapped up yet, he's very close.

Stay tuned.

An iteration, not yet definition

The Associated Press vote tallies as run through the Idaho Statesman web site are coming in much faster than the numbers from the Secretary of State's office; unfortunate, since the SoS numbers have more county detail. Still, there's some grist here, finally.

Among the 1st District Republicans, state Representative Bill Sali has maintained a steady lead all evening - not a big lead, but to this point a definitive one. Former Senator Sheila Sorensen and Controller Keith Johnson have been swapping second place, about five points back. The other three are trailing - the race pretty clearly now seems to be between those three. (Your scribe was quoted accurarely earlier today in the Congressional Quarterly web site as saying, "All I can point out are winners that would surprise me more versus winners who would surprise me less. … Sali and Sorenson would be the least surprising, with maybe Johnson as a dark horse.” Well, here we are . . . so far . . .

Highly interesting in the so-far returns: The very close Republican superintendent of public instruction contest between state Representative Steve Smylie and former nominee Tom Luna; the weight of opinion (including ours) had been that Luna would be a clear winner. It's not so clear at the moment.

Back shortly.

Early early

Well this is taking its time. At two hours past polls closed, just 117 of 917 precincts are in, and most of those are from eastern Idaho. Not a lot to work with yet in the premier race, the Republican nomination for the 1st congressional district.

Based on early results, the big gubernatorial primary win by C.L. "Butch" Otter looks about on track, at 69% (wouldn't be surprised to see it bump a little higher as the night goes on). On the Democratic side for lieutenant governor, former congressman Larry La Rocco appears to be piling up a substantial win over Dan Romero - there had been some question about that. The early numbers also seem to suggest a win by Tom Luna for a second Republican nomination for superintendent of public instruction, and - a surprise if it holds, which it may not - a lead by Jana Jones over state Senator Bert Marley on the Democratic side.

And in the 1st? Bill Sali, Keith Johnson and Sheila Sorensen bunched together at the top, with Sali in a narrow lead. Will it hold? The next couple of hours ought to tell the story . . . if the pace picks up . . .

Redden on salmon, and beyond

Toward the beginning of U.S. District Judge William Redden's decision Tuesday in American Rivers v. NOAA Fisheries, there was a sentence with a striking word in it.

The sentence was, "This opinion addresses the latest in a series of biological opinions issued by the federal government that have ostensibly attempted to stem the decline of threatened and endangered Columbia and Snake River Basin salmon while preserving tribal fishing rights, and protecting the region's economic and political interest in cheap hydropower, agricultural irrigation, and commercial/recreational fishing."

Did you catch the "ostensibly"?

Redden's decisions over the last few years have built a portrait of the judge as a persistent and accelerating critic of federal environmental policies, and an ally of environmental groups (even if, in this decision, he technically gave American Rivers only a partial win). He can't force congressional policy, and so he remains simply at loggerheads with his critics . . .

Unless, that is, this latest decision upends a key section of the federal-state-Nez Perce Tribe agreement, so carefully worked out over a period of years, in the Snake River Basin Adjudication. (more…)

Election night

And so much of it comes down to this. We'll be right here, of course, well through the evening and tracking the results. We'll pass on what we have, and analysis of it . . . but we don't guarantee how far we'll hang in there into the early ones Wednesday morning. (It could be that kind of election.)

Additional places to check for results info start with the Idaho Secretary of State's office, which had a good and often-updated report in the November 2004 election night. Election night posting at the Idaho Statesman has varied in quality over the years, but you'll likely want to check it out this time. The freshest TV election returns usually are those of KTVB-TV (Channel 7).

A growing number of counties are doing real-time on-line returns. Ada County has been running them reliably for a couple of cycles. Canyon County, Kootenai County, Bonneville County, Bannock County, Twin Falls County, Nez Perce County, Bingham County, Bonner County (note that it has a pop-up screen), Madison County (note that it's on a PDF linked to the main page) and Idaho County.

Have fun. And send in your ideas, analysis, thoughts, facts, plaints, whatever, as the night progresses.