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Posts published in “Day: November 4, 2006”

“Condomnation” (per The Stranger, and stranger)

The odd ness just keeps on coming. In fairness, Washington state Senator Brad Benson, R-Spokane, spoke on this subject - Planned Parenthood condoms - last spring, not last week, so he apparently isn't trying to . . . (oh, hell, verb your own entendre) this into the campaign. But it's pretty reflective anyway.

Brad BensonSeattle's The Stranger weekly newspaper has posted on its web site a clip of Benson, a former state representative who was appointed to the state Senate last year to replace newly-elected Spokane Mayor Jim West, speaking to a group of backers. In his talk he said that condoms distributed by Planned Parenthood have an 80% failure rate. This is, apparently, deliberate: "They have an interest in the follow-on product. That's why they give out 80% failure rate condoms." The "follow-on product," presumably, would be abortions.

Wonder which brands those are? And whether Benson has filed a complaint about the manfacturers with the attorney general's consumer protection office? (And where, we wonder, is Idaho's Bill Sali on this? Sounds like his kind of turf.)

Planned Parenthood, naturally, has replied that "The condoms we use are as effective as any other condoms." Absent something resembling evidence, we'll assume that they are.

Political question: What's the impact now in Spokane? There, the Spokesman-Review's newspaper blog has noted the discussion and one poster inquires, "This seems worthy of a Spokesman-Review follow-up story for Monday, no?"

Flipping the House

Of the six legislative chambers* in the three Northwest states, just one appears to be seriously up for grabs - in partisan control - on Tuesday: The Oregon House. So what are the odds Democrats will wrest control of it, for the first time in 14 years, from the Republicans?

Oregon HouseWe think: Slightly better than even, with a distinct chance of split chamber control such as the Oregon Senate had the term before last.

[*The Oregon Senate might be next in rank order, but Republicans appear to have realistic shots at just two Democratic Senate seats, and their odds of picking up either are no better than even; while Democrats have at least an equal chance of unseating one Republican senator. The chance of a chamber flip in either Washington or Idaho, in this election, seems remote.]

In the 60-seat House, Republicans currently hold 33 and Democrats 27 seats. All are up for election. The math is simple: If Democrats manage a net gain of three seats, the House will be under split control; if Democrats gain net four or more, they take control.

The bulk of the 60 seats are opposed by a candidate of the major opposition party, but (as is usually the case) only a minority are so seriously contested as to merit close consideration: In the vast majority of cases, seats will be held by incumbents. Counting those seriously contested seats is the core of the question, and a difficult matter: Good analysts can come up with different numbers.