Archive for August, 2006

Aug 22 2006

I’ll be the round about

Published by under Idaho

Down at the very end of U.S. Highway 30 at Astoria, close to where it meets U.S. 101 and the Pacific Ocean, there is a tricky little roundabout, a circle where four roads come together; you use the circle to get from the road you’re on to the road you’re headed.

That is not an unusual roundabout, either, and in Washington and Oregon you’ll find them in some unexpected locations. (We distinctly remember getting discombobulated at one in Arlington, Washington.) In Oregon, there are enough roundabouts that you can expect questions about their proper use on your driver’s license exam. (And be aware there’s a distinction between a roundabout and a traffic circle.)

Idaho, like most of the Rocky Mountain states, never has been much for roundabouts – if any have existed at all in the Gem State up to the last couple of years, we can’t think where they are. (If anyone does know, please advise. The loop on the south side of the Clearwater River bridge at Lewiston doesn’t count.)

But that’s changing. The city of Nampa, which is doing a massive re-do of transportation (and understandably, given the explosive growth there), has just opened its first roundabout, at Amity Road and Happy Valley Road. More are planned for construction before long. And not only that, others are planned for Ada County.

Will be interesting to see how they work in Nampa, Boise and Meridian. Most places we’ve spotted them in Washington and Oregon, they’ve been in substantial-traffic but smaller communities, since the circles do require a considerable traffic stop or slowdown.

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Aug 22 2006

Even more of a press conference

Published by under Idaho

We’ve long argued that the proper format for candidate debates is the simpler the better: Clear away everyone but the two (or more) candidates and a moderate to keep the peace and guide the discussion. Start with a general topic or proposition, and then – within the general bounds of civility and time fairness – let the candidates have at it. You’d get much better insight into the candidates and their ideas that way – and even much better drama – than through the usual glorified press conference approach that characterizes most debates.

The new proposal by Governor Jim Risch for his lieutenant governor debate with Democrat Larry La Rocco (as reported on Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Russell’s blog), however, takes things in the other direction – no candidate interaction at all, and nothing left but two glorified press conferences. Risch’s proposal calls for two half-hour sessions in which each candidate would be questioned by reporters, with the other candidate entirely absent.

She said Risch’s spokesman (and his son) Jason Risch explained the idea was proposed “due to the disruptive nature of previous experiences with the opposition.” Russell did not indicate that he elaborated.

The proposal was rejected by Elinor Chehey, the veteran coordinator of debates for the League of Women Voters.

A pile of questions come to mind. Let’s sift through some of the more pertinent. Continue Reading »

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Aug 21 2006

WA 8th: The ad debate

Published by under Washington

The first television spot from Democratic challenger Darcy Burner – opposing Republican incumbent Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th congressional district – is out. And is it ever controversial.

Among Democrats.

What should a challenger Democrat do this year, by way of message? There’s a great to-and-fro on the subject, and analysis of this opener ad from every which direction, up on the MyDD Democratic political site. It’s a good discussion of campaign strategy and tactics, and the debate shows why these things remain more art than science.

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Aug 21 2006

Calling the WA legislature

Published by under Washington

While most of the attention in Washington politics has gravitated either to the race for the U.S. Senate or the House in the 8th (or less commonly 5th) district, there are still races for the state legislature on the ballot. And the Washington state legislature is still a fairly closely-split pair of chambers.

Will it remain so after the November election? Will the slim Democratic advantages in the House and Senate remain, be expanded, or be reversed?

We’ll return to this, but one intriguing starting-point is the spreadsheet put together by the proprietor of The Moderate Washingtonian. a blog from Federal Way.

TMW offers this site description: “Outlook on politics and elections in the state of Washington from an overall centrist viewpoint. My views tend to be libertarian in nature, but at the same time are largely nonpartisan.” That seems reasonably close to what we read there, which tends more toward polling and statistical information than toward any partisanship.

There are two spreadsheets, one each for House and Senate.

The balance is closest in the Senate, where the party leads by 26-23, and one of its members (Tim Sheldon) often leaves the reservation. There, TMW is projecting three Democratic pickups, for what would be a 29-20 margin. All three seats projected to switch are in the Seattle suburbs. The seat being vacated by Republican Stephen Johnson on the east side (District 47) has been trending Democratic; the seat being defended by Republican Like Esser against R-turned-D legislator Rodney Tom (District 48) also is estimated to flip. The third was home to the closest legislative race in the state, District 26 (mostly just across Puget Sound from Seattle), where Republican Bob Oke, now retiring, squeaked by, and which also seems to be trending D.

TMW also estimates that that the House, now 55-43 in Democratic control, would go to 57-41. The sense is that three seats would flip from R to D control, and the Ds would lose one (the seat now held by Tom).

The Moderate is updated periodically. We’ll be checking back, and filling in.

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Aug 20 2006

An effective protest?

Published by under Idaho

Since July 25, when Idaho Governor Jim Risch called a special legislative session and released the one piece of legislation it will be allowed to consider, two conflicting tendencies have been headed for a showdown. Come Friday, when the session convenes and the dramatic choice is made, we all get to learn something – through this conflict – about the character of Idaho politics.

The conflict is not over the core subject of the session, which is property taxes, which have been rising rapidly in a number of parts of Idaho, and which in many cases has caused a great deal of distress. A combination of factors, including but not limited to the recent boom in housing sales prices and therefore values, has made that a widespread concern. The question is what exactly to do about it.

Risch’s proposal, released in detail when he called the session, is summed up on his web site:
“Removing the 3-mil maintenance and operations levy will reduce property taxes statewide by $260 million. Risch proposes adding one-cent to the sales tax to bring in $210 million annually. The net overall reduction in taxes is $50 million. The one-cent sales tax increase would be effective October 1 if passed by the special session of the Idaho Legislature. The governor would use $50 million of the surplus to make up the difference between the property tax cut and the sales tax increase. He would also transfer $100 million to an education ‘rainy day’ savings account to protect education funding from any future economic downturn. The state’s fiscal year ended with just over $200 million more in the bank than projected. The proposal also includes an advisory vote on the November 2006 ballot.” None of that is in dispute, either.

The issues are whether this is the best way to ease the property tax explosion; and if so, whether legislators will insist on considering options. Risch’s legislative call appears ironclad: Either approve his idea, or go home having done nothing. Continue Reading »

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Aug 19 2006

Crunchy chat

Published by under Washington

The Olympian newspaper at Washington’s capital has for some months been running Capitol Chat – live on-line chats with public people in the area. It’s been a nifty service, not (yet) much replicated by other regional newspapers. Some sessions have been livelier than others; the guests have ranged from House Speaker Frank Chopp to a local accountant (talking about income taxes) to oneof the newspaper’s photographers.

Tim SheldonCould be that the liveliest session they’ve had yet, and possibly the most significant, will be coming up Tuesday. That’s when third-term state Senator Tim Sheldon and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Kyle Taylor Lucas, joint chat with whoever types in.

Tim SheldonIt’s a hell of a contest, one of the most watchable in Washington state for next month’s primary, and with even some national resonance.

Sheldon is the sometimes-Democrat, sometimes-independent (as when he serves on the Mason County Commission) who has tended to support Republicans for major office (as in George W. Bush for president and Dino Rossi for governor) more than he has Democrats. Quite a few Democrats around Washington would like to see him bounced out of office. (Should note here: Sheldon has done the Olympian chat, by himself, before.)

First question: How will primary voters in rural west-Puget District 35 react? (Roughly, District 35 sits west and northwest of Olympia.)

Second question: How will they react to Lucas, who is best known to this point as the director of the state Indian Affairs office under former Governor Gary Locke?

Third question: Will the change in primary election procedure – in which, this time, the participants in this primary will be more closely limited to Democratic Party members than previously – work against Sheldon?

Fourth question: To what extent does someone – and it’s hard to be sure who it would be – try to turn this into another (local) Liberman-Lamont battle?

These last two mesh together. The Olympian quoted state Senator Karen Keiser, D-Kent, who heads the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. “What we see in Connecticut … may be emblematic. It may be a signal for all of us to pay attention to.” She also described District 35 as “‘ground zero’ for the effects of the pick-a-party primary, where party die-hards can make their preferences felt more strongly.”

This is a very hard-fought race. For a sense of how the internal struggle is playing out in the Democratic Party in the Northwest, there’ll be no better place to tune in midday Tuesday than on the Olympian‘s chat.

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Aug 18 2006

The mind of Kelly Clark

Published by under Oregon

On Friday, the ever-evolving Oregon governor’s race wheeled again as it spun – unpredictably – on the axis of one of the more intriguing personalities in recent Oregon politics: Kelly Clark.

Kelly Clark He is not an office holder, now, though he was a state representative in the late 80s and early 90s. A Republican, he was the most visible attorney (and evidently the lead) in the 2004 case against the Multnomah County Commission when it authorized same-sex marriage.

In a fascinating profile at that time on Clark, Taylor Clark of Willamette Week wrote, ” The question at this point seems not to be whether Clark’s mind is open, but what could possibly be going through it. He is a sex offender who has made a mint defending the sexually abused, and he’s also a former gay-rights advocate being paid to dismantle the biggest gay-rights victory in Oregon history. Clark sees no inconsistency, because in both cases he says he is motivated by the same dominating passion: disgust with the misuse of power. ‘I get to represent the little guy going up against the big guy,’ he says. ‘I absolutely love that, whether it’s the church, the government, insurance companies, banks.'”

Where in all this does his new action, announced on Friday, fit in? When he says he plans to file an action seeking to disqualify Constitution Party nominee Mary Starrett from the November general election ballot for an obscure gray-area possible legal violation, whose power abuse is it that he’s disgusted with? Continue Reading »

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Aug 18 2006

A methodical Big Look

Published by under Oregon

Their task is large, and they’ve been given substantial time – about three years – to undertake it. Not such a bad idea, then, that the Big Lookers take their time and move cautiously, even if there’s some short-term downside to be had.

Big Look meetingThe immediate concern would have to do results – not many yet, and not a lot to talk about either – and bogging down. A state committee to look at the land use picture in Oregon over the next three years; you can understand where some skepticism might arise since, half a year into its existence, it is still working out the question of how to go about its work. Matters of substance have barely entered the room yet.

For the moment, though, we’ll place our bets on some actual results emerging from the Oregon Task Force on Land Use Planning – “Big Look.” The group met in Salem Friday, and a review of their minutes to date and their actions at the meeting suggest, rather than a bogging down, a steady pace toward clarification and working out a path to an answer.

These committee members aren’t for the most part political people, and the conversations they’re having – to judge from the Friday meeting – sound informal, thoughtful and searching toward ideas, for all that they’re being recorded and closely watched by an audience. These people aren’t staking out positions, as legislators might. Their process seems an evolution.

As such, it’s not roaring ahead, but it’s not glacial, either. In the course of a couple of meetings they’ve worked out six areas of intersecting concern with land use: the economy; the role of state and local governments; citizen involvement; infrastructure and finance; growth management; and benefits and burdens. You could split the subject in other ways too, presumably, but these seem a reasonable start. Most of the concerns most people have about the subject of land use regulation in Oregon could fit in those areas. And there’s early recongition that they will overlap, repeatedly.

At this stage, they’re working in considerable part on information gathering and figuring out how to handle the flood of information they are sure to get. While they’re holding their meetings this year around the state – the last was in Lincoln City, and upcoming in Pendleton, Medford and Gresham – they’re not seeking lots of opinions, yet. They will later. But first they’re trying to develop a base of knowledge and a framework to hang it on, and their moves toward developing it to date seem almost stately.

Given enough time, and the 2009 delivery date may be enough, these guys could produce something interesting.

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Aug 17 2006

SUSA: Riding above and below the wave

Published by under Idaho,Oregon,Washington

Latest polling numbers on approval of President George W. Bush show no great change or surprise from the last few months. But it’s been a while since we’ve posted the Survey USA numbers, so here’s a recap.

In Oregon, Bush is at 33% approval and 64% disapproval. That’s not quite as negative for Bush as the 31%-67% numbers from May, but it is more negative than in June or July, when the negatives had softened slightly. Only 10 other states currently view Bush more negatively.

In Washington (Bush’s 13th-worst state), the picture is closely similar, at 34% favorable, 64% unfavorable. As in Oregon, a slight move toward a more favorable view of Bush in mid-summer snapped back in August.

Finally, Idaho remains positively disposed toward Bush, the president’s second-best state (after Utah), where he gets 56% approval and 41% disapproval – one of four states where he tops the 50% favorable mark. In contrast to most states, Bush gained in approval in August over the previous couple of months.

Nationally, Bush is at 38% favorable, 60% unfavorable.

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Aug 17 2006

Out too soon

Published by under Oregon

In the category of good intentions gone awry, place an Oregon corrections program aimed at providing alcohol and drug treatment for inmates. A perfectly sound idea, it has created some awful problems because it has allowed a number of inmates, including some violent offenders, to get out of incarceration much earlier than expected – to the surprise of judges, prosecutors, victims and others.

The biggest problem here (alongside some bad calls on releases) seems to be transparency. The program got almost no attention when it was approved in the Oregon Legislature, and the man in whose department it is operated, Max Williams, is the former legislator who championed it. That may have led to an internal cultural problem: This is our program, we started it, we know how to operate it. That shut-down attitude – reporters have had to deal with persistent blocks in their requests for state information and documents on this program – apparently has led to denials, maybe including self-denial, that problems with the program are significant.

We’re not talking about an epidemic of bad early releases, but we are talking about considerably more than the odd fluke or two, and some of those people reoffend as soon as they’re able. This could have a bearing on the governor’s race, since Governor Ted Kulongoski (a lawyer, a former attorney general and a former Supreme Court justice) is involved in this, in a mixed way – partly defending the program and partly acknowledging some need for fixes.

All of which is mentioned here in part because it isn’t (yet) visible many other places. This story was broken by the McMinnville News-Register, not one of the larger papers in the state; nevertheless, it threw in the resources to do a thorough job in its Thursday edition and will continue with another by Saturday.

By that time, it may not be publishing on this subject alone. Look for more on this in coming days.

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Aug 16 2006

The Weekly is a stranger

Published by under Washington

So there really has been a purge, one way or another, at the Seattle Weekly. What exactly caused it, and what its long-range results will be, are less than clear. But the departures should clarify things amply before long.

Seattle WeeklyNot having pounded the floors of its offices we make no assessment of who left at the request of management or of their own volition. But a whole lot of the most key people at the publication have departed following a change of ownership in January. Those include such familiar names as Editor-in-Chief Skip Berger, Managing Editor Chuck Taylor, Political Editor George Howland and – the most recent, on Tuesday- writer Geov Parrish. That’s the core of the news/politics side of the publication. And besides them, there’s the paper’s publisher, production director, advertising director, design director and a bunch of others.

All of the departure statements we’ve seen have been vague enough to leave open multiple possible interpretations. Parrish’s departure note, for example (this via Horse’s Ass), says only, “it became clear that my journalistic priorities were not compatible with VVM’s current and future plans for Seattle Weekly. For this and other reasons, I feel it most appropriate to move on immediately.”

What does all this translate to?

New Times Media of Phoenix, now Village Voice Media, which bought the Seattle Weekly in January and now owns a large string of “alternative” weeklies (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Cleveland, among others) is reputedly strongly hierarchial. It also maintains that it is committed to alternative journalism and to investigative reporting.

With the new era about to begin, we’ll all find out soon enough.

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Aug 16 2006

OR H17: Still out there

Published by under Oregon

Speculating last month on Oregon State Representative Jeff Kropf’s dropout from his race (to pursue his activities in talk radio), we suggested the late opening on the Republican side might offer some opening for a Democrat in this generally Republican district.

Now that the race is joined with a replacement Republican, our view is pretty much unchanged. The contest may lean Republican, but only just, and a Democratic win there is distinctly possible.

The big roadblock to that is the district itself. House District 17 runs through the eastern parts of Marion and Linn counties, up into the Cascades, and includes mainly farming and old-line timber communities, though there is some change in a number of the towns. Party registration in the district is 43% Republican to 34% Democratic, and though party registration figures aren’t always a good guide to election results, this area has been voting more Republican than the state overall. It has not been doing so as overwhelmingly as, say, most areas east of the Cascades.

Meeting in Scio, the local Republicans have just replaced Kropf with Fred Girod of Lyons, a dentist who served in the House in the early 90s. Girod has campaigned before and served in the House before, and that’s a plus.

There are also minuses. He has had some conflicts locally, notably earlier this month with the Stayton City Council, which denied an application of his to build a commercial center there; it said he was effectively asking the city to rezone a key area. He’s been out of office for quite a while, and his name ID may not be especially high. He is starting a race from scratch; there is, for example, no web site up yet.

The Democrat, Dan Thackaberry, had run a quiet campaign up until Kropf’s departure – maybe reflecting the consensus that Kropf was highly likely to win. he appears to have ramped up rapidly since, and he has something of a base to work from . He’s a farmer, which provides some business base and connections, and also a member of the city council at Lebanon, the largest city in the district – a decent homre base from which to start. Thackaberry’s web site calls him “Farmer Dan,” and he appears to come off as friendly and easy going. His head start on Girod is not large, but it is real.

Still a small Republican edge here, but not a district to write off.

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Aug 16 2006

Edging up

Published by under Washington

The 8th U.S. House district in Washington feels ever more closely competitive – you get the sense in writings and in speech and in tone.

Just-out revised national ranking from the National Journal‘s list of most-competitive races, there’s the Dave Reichert (R)/Darcy Burner (D) matchup at number 19, up from 24 in the last ranking. the attached note says, “Reichert has had to switch votes on stem-cell research. Like the Philly suburbs, this is a district that’s poised to switch if there’s a Democratic wave.”

That’s really the key. If there is no Democratic wave on November 7, Reichert probably prevails. But if there is, as indicators now suggest, Burner is very well positioned.

This is the only Northwest House race on the Journal‘s top 50 most competive.

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Aug 15 2006


Published by under Idaho

The decision Monday by the Idaho Supreme Court on Monday, allowing the Boise ballot issue on the Ten Commandments monument to go to election, may not have been well understood. The take of the court’s majority was uncommonly limited.

10 Commandments monumentIt was enough to give the Keep the Comandments Coalition a win, at this stage anyway. They wanted an initiative on the ballot and now they’ve got one.

But the decision in Boise City v. Keep the Commandments Coalition, was based on the idea that the Supreme Court, or any other court, really didn’t have authority to act at all, at this stage.

Initiatives, including city initiatives, are designed to pass pieces of legislation – policy decisions. The city of Boise contended that the decision of where a 10 Commandments stone should be placed is an administrative action, not a policy decision. The Supreme Court gave a limited thumbs-up to that argument, saying, “If a subject is legislative in nature, it is appropriate for action by initiative. On the other hand, if the proposed initiative is administrative in nature, it falls outside the scope of action allowable by initiative. There is no bright line rule that clearly distinguishes what is legislative in nature, as opposed to administrative in nature.”

But then it concluded: “In this case the initiative may not pass in which case the issue of whether it steps over the bounds of a proper initiative would be moot. The initiative may pass and be the proper subject of an adjudication, or the City council may exercise its authority to amend or reject it. The validity of the action sought by the petition may or may never be the proper subject for Court action. Just as the Court would not interrupt the legislature in the consideration of a bill prior to enactment, the Court will not interrupt the consideration of a properly qualified initiative. The petition qualifies for the ballot for consideration by the voters.”

Courts have tended to be highly reluctant to block an initiative before voters have a chance to act on it. So that’s not a surprise.

But they also may have signalled that, if the issue passes, its advocates shouldn’t necessarily count on a favorable ruling later, if one occurs.

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Aug 14 2006

Puncturing a bubble, maybe

Published by under Oregon

Tour NWProbably no place is more thoroughly emblematic of the boom-grwoth side of the Northwest than Bend, where people have long since run out of superlatives to describe the explosion of development in their midst.

We can report that it is ongoing. In the fall of 2004 we gassed our car at a fairly new Chevron tourist stop on the east fringe of Bend, beyond which lay the desert, and across Highway 20 from an under-construction shopping center. Last week we gassed up at the same Chevron station and noticed that across the street, the center was completed – and enormous, almost in itself the size of a small town, easily a match for the biggest new centers at Vancouver. Washington or Meridian, Idaho. Nor was that all. The whole area, back of the shopping center, back of the Chevron station, off into the distance, was brand new residential development.

This was maybe a bit extreme, but other parts of Bend were growing too, notably anywhere on the east or south sides. Visiting the Deschutes County election office, we inquired where, most specificially, were the big growth places around the city. The eventual answer was, almost everywhere.

The prices have been going up, too. We know an executive who took a job at Bend more than a decade ago but concluded he could not afford to live there, and bought a house instead in Redmond. Things have gotten much more extreme since. As late as 2000, the average sales price of houses at Bend still was under $200,000. In 2005, the average sales price was $334,570. If decently-paid professionals couldn’t afford a decent house in Bend a decade ago, what can they afford now? Maybe more to the point, who’s buying these houses?

We may get a clearer public answer before long. And yes, there are political implications afoot. Continue Reading »

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Aug 13 2006

National views

Published by under website

Aquickie here to note that one of our posts below – on the potential of rural populism, in the context of the Washington 5th district congressional race – went national today. It was “front-paged” at the national Daily Kos political site, by one of the editors there (nom de web, mcjoan). Drawing there a variety of interesting comments.
Stop by and see what the take is there – distinctive from, but adding to, the take here.

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Aug 13 2006

OR 5th: Evidence of change?

Published by under Oregon

Republican 5th District congressional nominee Mike Erikson is abruptly showing some signs of making a campaign.

Ted Piccolo at NWRepublican is arguing that this one is a sleeper, that five-termer Democrat Darlene Hooley may be vulnerable, to the point that “Polls are showing that if the Republican candidate can educate voters in that district as to who he is then he wins this race. The tension builds.”

Mike EricksonErickson has a very slick website, one of the most technically capable we’ve seen in the region. Piccolo suggests that substantial Republican financial and other support may be coming his way, and that Erickson is now making media buys.

Hmm. We’re going to need more evidence before heading over to that conclusion.

It is true that Republicans have a registration advantage in the 5th (for all that necessarily means), and that there is some history of the district flipping partisan control regularly, though that was pre-Hooley (pre-1996). It’s also true that the district narrowly voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Also true: None of that was any different in the last U.S. House election, which Hooley won 53%-44% over a polished and electorally experienced contender, Jim Zupancic. In 2002 she won with 55%, in 2002 57%. (Yes, those numbers have dropped, but that’s partly due to additional minor party candidates; the R/D split has remained comparable.) As for that little matter of money, Hooley was way ahead as of the last campaign finance reports, $855,276 to Erickson’s $311,817. Money isn’t all, but on what basis can he argue he’s better positioned now, when the Republican administration in Washington is far less popular in-district than two years ago, than Zupancic was in 2004?

Erickson seems to present himself agreeably, but he’s new to political campaigning, not a great asset when you’re running for Congress. (Yes, lightning strikes, but not often.) He’s not well known around the district, and his best name ID comes from his days as a high school football player. (For some reason Republicans have less than a stellar electoral record in Oregon when they nominate high school jocks who by profession have become business consultants, which Erickson also is.) Until the last couple of weeks, his campaign has been quiet, and three months is hardly the amount of time needed to defeat an incumbent which isn’t in any obvious trouble in the district.

The national estimators seem to see it about the same. Congressional Quarterly, which had listed the district as “Democrat favored” (owing to the Republican numbers there in other races), has just shofted it to “safe Democratic.” The Cook Political Report has posted it as “Likely Democratic.”

Conditions may change, and we’ll watch the tracking points Piccolo suggests. But until some critical change occurs, our call of probable Democratic will remain the same, too.

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The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)


by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through (softcover)

without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.


How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM


    ORDER IT HERE or on

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95


    ORDER IT HERE or on

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95



    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics


    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.

    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here