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Posts published in June 2010

Benton’s dropout

And so state Senator Don Benton has dropped out of the U.S. Senate race, clearing a bit more of the Republican side of the field. How many candidates will ultimately file next week?

Washington's top-two system will make for some compelling watching in the Senate contest, come primary day. If there's basically just one serious Democrat (incumbent Patty Murray) and one serious Republican (Dino Rossi) left in the field, then the primary results could make for a useful mirror of what's ahead in November.

Of course, while those two contenders are nearly certain to be the finalists for the fall, there's something else to watch if former football player Clint Didier stays in. Didier, who snagged an endorsement from Sarah Palin, is more a tea party kind of guy. If he stays in, what kind of vote does he get? And how should that be interpreted for the fall? There is this is consider: With Benton out, the Tea Party group has one clear candidate speaking something close to its dialect, and we may see just how much Didier is able to draw from that. if he stays in.

Searching the parents

Today's Idaho Supreme Court case Idaho v. John & Jane Doe is almost a primer on key parts of the 4th amendment, on search and seizure - notably when the search comes to your own body. It's not long (10 pages, including the legal analysis) and worth the read.

The background: A girl is convicted of petit theft, which puts her in the juvenile corrections system and into contact with the two parents. The Supreme Court summarized what happened next: "Because a social investigation revealed that the Does had a history of drug abuse and that Jane was on probation for possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia, the magistrate questioned the Does about their use of controlled substances. Jane admitted to the magistrate that she used methamphetamine before having her children and had continued to smoke marijuana until she was caught with paraphernalia sometime prior to the events in this case. The magistrate consequently required both John and Jane to undergo random drug urinalyses as a term of their daughter’s probation."

So: Conviction of the daughter on a theft charge leads to de facto body searches of the parents for traces of drugs?

The Idaho Supreme ultimately decided not, though the route to that conclusion is by no means as simple as you might imagine.

Pridemore out; Heck calculation changes

In effect, the Democratic side of the contest in the Washington 3rd is over: The party's standard-bearer (better not say nominee) will be Denny Heck.

Watch his percentage in the upcoming primary, and you'll get a sense of what the November general will look like.

The dynamic changes with the campaign dropout today - and we may see more like this soon with candidate filing prior coming up quick - of state Senator Craig Pridemore, who was the more liberal of the two main Democratic contenders. Pridemore left it clean for Heck, endorsing him in his withdrawal announcement. The rest of Pridemore's statement:

Pridemore, who in recent weeks won the coveted endorsements of the Sierra Club and the Washington State Labor Council, issues the following statement:

“I want to first of all thank all of the individuals and organizations who supported my campaign. I am so grateful to have earned your trust, and look forward to continued service in the State Senate. I am especially humbled by the endorsements of organizations and friends who have rallied in recent weeks, knowing that we left the session with a steep hill to climb. Thank you.

I regret the need to exit this race, but it is clear to me that the long session placed our campaign at a clear disadvantage. While I wish I had been able to focus on my campaign earlier, I am proud that my focus this winter was where it needed to be: addressing the real issues facing the working families and small businesses of Southwest Washington. I entered politics to excel at public service, not the other way around.

It could be said that Heck is the more establishment candidate, a solid fundraiser, with loads of contacts, and may be an easier sell in the more centrist areas than Pridemore would have been. Some of his troops may be less activist - or maybe not, depending on how the Republican side turns out. The Republican contest is far from settled, and two major contenders are well within shooting range of each other. The 3rd overall is a highly competitive territory, and that is unchanged.