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Posts published in November 2006

ID results 1 – The sea remains the same

The polling was leaving Idaho Democrats breathless: That sea change they've been waiting for, for the last 14 years at least, seemed at hand, with polling that actually put several Democratic candidates for major office ahead of Republicans.

Now we have the actual votes, enough of them at least to tell that the sea has not changed.

At this writing, only about half of the precincts are in. (Canyon County, notoriously late in last May's primary, is late coming in again. And so Bannock, and some others.) But the vote distribution seems generally broad enough to draw some conclusions, starting with this: The two big races on which Democrats had pinned their highest hopes, for governor and for the 1st district U.S. House seat, appear to be going to the Republicans, C.L. "Butch" Otter and Bill Sali.

And that is true despite a long string of advantages that appeared to play to Democrats' favor: A terrible national atmosphere for Republicans (a very good night for Democrats nationally), big problems in the campaigns of the Republicans, campaigns by the Democrats that were played smartly, issues that played to the Democrats' advantage, and much more. But Republicans in Idaho have massive institutional advantages at this point, and a lot of people in the state simply cannot conceive of wanting to vote for a Democrat. And they didn't.

Nor (based on the most recent results) did they win the race for superintendent of public instruction, or for state controller, and in both cases they seemed to have some unusual advantages. In the latter, strong endorsements from industry groups and even Republicans like Frnak Vander Sloot of Idaho Falls; none of that matters, evidently, nearly as much as party identification.

There are specks of light for the Democrats. On the legislative front, they did make - as we suspected they would - substantial progress in the districts of the city of Boise, taking all three seats in the three most urban of the Boise legislative districts, and two of three seats in another (apparently - results were not yet final on that one). Boise seems en route to becoming a Democratic city, a trend evident in the 2004 elections and clearer now.

As for inroads elsewhere . . . there were a few. Results were incomplete in some cases, though Democrats do appear to have won a smattering of other races.

We'll come back to all this.

ID results 1 – The sea remains the same

The polling was leaving Idaho Democrats breathless: That sea change they've been waiting for, for the last 14 years at least, seemed at hand, with polling that actually put several Democratic candidates for major office ahead of Republicans.

Now we have the actual votes, enough of them at least to tell that the sea has not changed.

At this writing, only about half of the precincts are in. (Canyon County, notoriously late in last May's primary, is late coming in again. And so Bannock, and some others.) But the vote distribution seems generally broad enough to draw some conclusions, starting with this: The two big races on which Democrats had pinned their highest hopes, for governor and for the 1st district U.S. House seat, appear to be going to the Republicans, C.L. "Butch" Otter and Bill Sali.

And that is true despite a long stirng of advantages that appeared to play to Democrats' favor: A terrible national atmosphere for Republicans (a very good night for Democrats nationally), big problems in the campaigns of the Republicans, campaigns by the Democrats that were played smartly, issues that played to the Democrats' advantage, and much more. But Republicans in Idaho have massive institutional advantages at this point, and a lot of people in the state simply cannot conceive of wanting to vote for a Democrat. And they didn't.

Nor (based on the most recent results) did they win the race for superintendent of public instruction, or for state controller, and in both cases they seemed to have some unusual advantages. In the latter, strong endorsements from industry groups and even Republicans like Frnak Vander Sloot of Idaho Falls; none of that matters, evidently, nearly as much as party identification.

There are specks of light for the Democrats. On the legislative front, they did make - as we suspected they would - substantial progress in the districts of the city of Boise, taking all three seats in the three most urban of the Boise legislative districts, and two of three seats in another (apparently - results were not yet final on that one). Boise seems en route to becoming a Democratic city, a trend evident in the 2004 elections and clearer now.

As for inroads elsewhere . . . there were a few. Results were incomplete in some cases, though Democrats do appear to have won a smattering of other races.

We'll come back to all this.

OR results 1 – turning blue, big time

Oregon Democrats have an almost unalloyed night to celebrate. They didn't win everything; after an emotional sendoff to Aghanistan on Saturday, for example, they watched promising newcomer (to legislative politics) lose to veteran Republican Jackie Winters.

But they didn't lose much else.

Ted Kulongoski
Ted Kulongoski

That Governor Ted Kulongoski won re-election was no great surprise. But that he appears to be holding steady at over the 50% mark - leading Republican Ron Saxton by about eight points - must come as an especially sweet win. He can't be accused, any longer, of being a default governor - the winner only because the Republicans nominated a weak candidate - Saxton was sold as the strongest the Republicans had, and the strongest the party had fielded in many years. And he can't be said to be governor only because of a split in the conservative vote; a majority win is a clear endorsement.

It also says something, as do a bunch of races this evening, about the impact of money in politics - that, in short, it doesn't have to be decisive. Saxton and his backers outspent Kulongoski and his backers by nearly two to one. And see what it got them.

Democrats just held even in the state Senate, but they appear to have won the House - looks that way from the results we have at this point. (As matters sit, we're counting 31 Democrats winning House seats - but a couple are very close, and not all the ballots are in.) The sweetener here: The apparent defeat of House Spaker Karen Minnis, who outspent her opponent about two to one, with a record-breaking million-dollar budget.

Question: Where do Republicans in Oregon go from here?

At half-poast poll closure . . .

Here in the Northwest, early indications are that this region will mirror many of the early returns elsewhere in this country this evening: Strong results for Democrats, intermixed with some close losses.

We'll be reporting back shortly, but a few early indications jump out.

In Oregon, the early results give Democrat Ted Kulongoski 56% of the vote. A whole lot of the rural part of the state has yet to emerge, and this reflects a big chunk of Lane county (Eugene area); still, he's in a good place at this point.

Among legislative races, we've heard of one result that will upend some expectations (including today's Punditology results) - in Oregon House District 24, Democrat Sal Perlata looks poised to defeat Rebublican incumbent Donna Nelson.

Some early indications: Most of the ballot issues (including the spending and term limits issues) show signs of failing. Unclear yet as to the number of Democratic seats in the Oregon House.

No immediate surprises in Washington, with a lead in the Senate race by Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell. Not enough information on the critical 5th and 8th district races to say much at this point.

And results in Idaho are too preliminary as well for substantial judgement.

Back soon with more.

Tonight, tonight, tonight

In the three states of the Northwest, the magic - or witching - hour is 8 p.m. That's when the polls close and, soon after, numbers start to roll. (In Idaho, where most people are in Mountain Time, numbers usually do not much roll until
9 p.m. Mountain time, in consideration for the people up north whose voting deadline is an hour later.)

polling place image - Washington Secty State officeWe will, of course, be getting a sense of the national trends before that, since many eastern polls will be closing around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. Northwest time.

Expect that Oregon numbers will be among the first out; its vote counting procedures allow the count to begin on Tuesday well before the polls close. (And remember, only ballot in the hands of county officials by 8 p.m. today will count - in contrast to Washington, where a Tuesday postmark traditionally has sufficed.) Of some interest: With its new heavy reliance on mail voting, how early will be the Washington votes?

Of course, be sure to check back here: As per usual, we will be tracking results mostly on line. In between a short TV appearance and a stop at a political event, our regular stops this evening will include:

IDAHO

  • The Secretary of State' s office did a fine job of updating on primary election night; it's our top stop in the Gem State.
  • KTVB-TV traditionally has some of the best and fastest election night results in the state.
  • The Idaho Statesman will have information posted on its front page.
  • In eastern Idaho, try KIFI-TV.

OREGON

WASHINGTON

A VIEW FROM CONGRESS Also, this could be interesting: Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) says he plans to blog regularly during election night. Could be interesting to pull the take from his angle.

Oregon punditology predicts

We on this site usually don't get into flat predictions, preferring to deal in odds and probability for events which haven't yet occurred. But for those interested in predictions - something to tide you over till polls close, Punditology has just the thing.

Around Oregon 346 politically involved and interested people filled out a survey on Monday on how they think the election will go (not to be confused with what they'd prefer), in Oregon. It seems to be the largest and most detailed late-date prediction set in the region, and it probably does constitute a late-game conventional wisdom. Check it out, and then this evening watch it get variously upheld and overturned.

OTHERS David Postman's Seattle Times blog offers a prediction contest, and some commentary is attached in comments. A thread of Idaho predictions can be found at the Democratic Red State Rebels.

Wining & dining all over

Funny business becomes possible anywhere you have the point of decision on how to spend money. A fresh insight along these lines, from the office of Washington's insurance commissioner, Mike Kriedler.

title insurance reportLast month Kriedler released a report, "An Investigation into the Use of Incentives and Inducements by Title Insurance Companies." Title companies? You usually think of them - and most of us rarely do, other than when buying or selling real property - as stolid, staid, boring, nondescript. (Which is what they should be; and isn't in any event meant as a swipe: Your scribe's sister worked at title companies, in Washington and Idaho, for a number of years.)

But because of the way the marketplace in title insurance is structured - and like much else in the "free marketplace" the structure has evolved in coordination with governmental law and regulation - shady business actually is made much more likely.

Here's the background.

(more…)

. . . this time, it’s personal

You hear the phrase on trailers for action movie sequels when it comes to battle scenes. Here's an instance where it applies to politics.

Comments from Idaho Senator Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, on lasy-gasp radio ad from Laird Maxwell's pro-Proposition 2 organization:

Once again, the promoters of Proposition Two have taken the low road in an effort to deceive voters. But this time it is personal.

I debated promoter Laird Maxwell on two different Idaho Falls radio stations for an hour each time regarding Proposition Two. Obviously, I was opposed to it and he was in favor. Now his group is taking quotes out of our debate and using them in their mail-outs and actually using my recorded voice on their radio ads to make it sound like I am in favor of Prop. 2. For instance, I said somethng to the effect that, “We are on the same page on this one. Proposition two should not affect existing planning and zoning ordinances.” I was referring to the fact that the proposition is not retroactive like the one in Oregon, but they are quoting it as if I were supporting the whole Proposition.

I have had a number of people call saying they heard the radio ads and were disappointed that I was supporting Prop. 2. You can imagine how angry this makes me. I trust people to be honest in presenting their positions and now I find that some cannot be trusted. It is disheartening to me.

I want to make it clear to my friends and constituents that I am against Proposition 2. I believe it would damage the vitality and economic health of Idaho. I have actively opposed Proposition 2 and urge you to do the same.

It should be personal, at well, to the people the ad was intended to deceive.

UPDATE A reply from Laird Maxwell:

For the record, Sen. Brent Hill was clearly identified as an OPPONENT of Prop. 2 in our radio ad.

Below is the script and attached is the radio ad.

Lastly, we sent out a bulk mail letter where we again quoted Sen. Hill and identified him as an opponent. Here is the excerpt of that letter:

Let's give credit to one politician who's opposed to Prop 2, but who admitted the truth on the air.

Last Tuesday on KZNR Radio in Blackfoot, state Sen. Brent Hill said: "I think that (Prop 2 supporters) and I are on the same page on this one. …This should not affect any planning, zoning, or other land use laws that are already in existence."

Senator Hill is right . By its own clear language, Prop 2 will not affect existing zoning laws. That includes, by the way, the current zoning laws that make it illegal to "turn any Idaho property, including farmlands, into junkyards, power plants, or high rises."

In other words, he confirms that that TV spot you've been seeing is a lie.

I know that Sen. Hill is a square shooter, unlike Nampa Mayor Tommy Dale. I have a deep respect for Sen. Hill and we were square with his quote by identifying him as an opponent. I also believe that by clearly identifying Sen. Hill as an opponent in made our point stronger, in contrast, that many of the other opponents, like Tommy Dale were lying.

What the vets say

Polling tells us that the conflict in Iraq is top of mind for Americans as they vote or prepare to. That suggests we might take a minute to peruse the congressional rankings of what may be its single most relevant private organization, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

They are self-described as "Founded in June 2004, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is the nation's first and largest group dedicated to the Troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the civilian supporters of those Troops and Veterans." And it says that "The IAVA Rating is based on this legislator's voting history on issues that affect US troops, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and military families."

Like other interest groups, they track legislation and congressional action, and also like many, they rate the members of Congress, in this case by letter grade. Here is how they rate the members of Congress from the Northwest.

office Idaho rating Oregon rating Washington rating
Senate Craig (R)
Crapo(R)
D-
D
Wyden (D)
Smith (R)
B+
C-
Murray (D)
Cantwell (D)
A-
A-
House Otter (R)
Simpson (R)
C
C
Wu (D)
Walden (R)
Blumenauer (D)
DeFazio (D)
Hooley (D)
B
C+
C+
B
A-
Inslee (D)
Larsen (D)
Baird (D)
Hastings (R)
McMorris (R)
Dicks (D)
McDermott (D)
Reichert (R)
Smith (D)
B+
A
B
C
D
A-
C-
D+
A-