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Posts published in “Day: September 14, 2006”

Road signs

Road-tripping around rural Washington the last couple of days, we spotted political signs here and there, but not quite the indications of super-high interest.

Most signs we saw in driving about 500 miles of east-of-Cascades Washington highways this week, from Goldendale to Colville, were about local races. Second was judicial - the striking visibility of judicial races was especially notable in Spokane, where most of the judicial candidates had posted billboards in the central city area. (Not a commonplace.) Congressional and even legislative candidates were back in the pack.

Of course, we're just now coming up on the primary, not the general, so that may be a factor.

Around the 5th district, from Okanogan to Republic to Spokane, we did see a number of signs. We were interested that the number of signs for incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris and challenging Democrat Peter Goldmark were roughly balanced. And the Goldmark signs were posted on a surprising number of ranch properties. Maybe his cowboy-hat image is catching on in some of those quarters.

Top 10 ID xgr: The premier races

In Washington and Oregon, the two major parties each elect enough members to the chambers that control of all four of those chambers is this election year, realistically, up for grabs - the idea of one party or the other winning enough to change control isn't unreasonable. Not so in Idaho, where the Republican dominance is so sweeping that Democratic control of either chamber is into meteorite-falls-on-your-head territory. Actually, given the numbers of candidates, beyond that.

That still doesn't mean the contests are insignificant. Even a small minority party can make its influence felt, as the Democrats did in the last special session. And they can grow their numbers, and some net growth seems likely this election. How much? Consider the list here, and evaluate for yourself. (Our early estimate: by about 2-5 seats.) The following races (as in Washington and Oregon) are listed for a mix of their probable closeness, their intensity, and their larger significance.

Our Oregon list appeared last week, and the Washington list will be posted after that state's primary election. The races are listed by district number.

blue glass District 1 House A, incumbent Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake; challenger Steve Elgar, D-Sandpoint. Elgar ran one of the most energetic and best-funded state legislative races in Idaho in 2004, and he still lost by familiar margins. This year (as of the post-primary reports) he's again outspending Republican Eric Anderson, and he's a more familiar figure, running in what should be a somewhat better year for Democrats. With what results will be curious to see. (more…)