Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: November 2, 2010”

Democrats in … Idaho

While Democrats all over the country had a rough night, pause a moment to consider the Democrats in Idaho.

Going into this election, they had one major office holder, Representative Walt Minnick. Votes are still being counted, but he looks to be headed to a clear defeat, after doing almost everything possible to endear himself to Republicans over the last two years, and after drastically outspending his opponent, Republican Raul Labrador. While operating from a position of power in Washington. At this point, Minnick's loss doesn't even look to be close.

They had high hopes for Keith Allred, who had spent years bridging gaps between Republicans and Democrats, described himself not as a Democrat at all but as an Independent, even appeared on on Fox News and surprised the conservative hosts with how conservative he sounded. He was a highly presentable campaigner who worked hard, came across well - no rough edges at all - and drew support from a bunch of prominent long-time Republicans. With more than half of the precincts reporting, he was losing to a Republican governor who has been fielding a wide range of shots all year, by 60.5% to 31.7% - almost two to one.

They thought that pitting the retiring Boise school superintendent, a knowledgeable and articulate man, against the Republican state school superintendent, might do the trick. He is losing by 61.4% to 38.6%. Democrats are losing all the other major offices as well, in general by percentages even more stark.

Democrats probably will maintain their seven seats (of 35) in the state Senate, picking up one in Latah County to compensate for a loss in southeast Boise. But their House caucus is likely to fall from 18 members to 13 (out of 70). Cracks are showing in the Boise legislative districts they have held the last two cycles. Two high-energy legislative campaigns in the west Boise suburbs yielded results not markedly different from the norm.

The point is this: Idaho Democrats are going to have to figure out a different way of doing things if they want to move beyond fringe status. Will they?

Re-electing Otter

Just off an election night conference call with Keith Allred, the Idaho Democratic nominee for governor. His message wasn't a concession, at least not formally, though he did talk about plans for the future that didn't have to do with moving into the governor's office.

He said that "I remain confident as ever in the message we are taking to Idaho voters." Idahoans seemed to be responsive to what he had to say, but "we knew this was a tough message to get out beyond the partisan labels."

Well, yes. At current numbers, with just short of half the vote counted, Allred was at 31.9% and incumbent Republican Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter 60.2% - a landslide number. The Republican atmospherics may have padded it a bit, but Otter clearly did very well regardless, no matter all those people who said they heard so little favorable about him.

Allred may have found some positive responses to his message, but nowhere near enough. At this point, he'll be lucky to crack a third of the vote - lower than Democrat Jerry Brady got in either of the last two cycles, though probably more than Robert Huntley did (29.1%) in 1998. Maybe; at this writing, a lot of conservative precincts are yet to be heard from.

Senate: No change, probably

Three Senate seats up in the Northwest this year, and probably no change coming out of any of them from this election.

Oregon's Ron Wyden, Democrat, is way ahead, and he's been called by national media to win. No question here.

In Idaho, Republican Mike Crapo is even further ahead; haven't spotted a specific national call of a win yet, but he surely has.

In Washington, much the closest race of the three where incumbent Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi have fought down to the wire. Rossi seemed to have an uptick in the last week or so, but it looks like not quite enough. It is close, 50.6% Murray to 49.4% Rossi, and a variety of counties still out. But the largest block of votes yet to be counted looks to be - and this has become a regular feature of Washington elections - in King County, which has so far been voting in landslide numbers for Murray. A close race, but she seems to have won it. (See also this post on Horse's Ass.)

First round – the House

The big national story is the (much-predicted) capture of the U.S. House by Republicans; and the Northwest looks to be a part of that. How much so isn't yet totally clear.

Looks fairly definitive at this hour, with polls closed an hour, that the Washington 3rd (the southwest corner) goes from Democratic to Republican control; Republican Jaime Herrera staked out a fairly strong lead which has held up.

In the Idaho 1st, Republican Raul Labrador is well ahead of Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick, who massively outspent him, at about 50%-43%. But the story there isbn't yet done; only about an eight of the vote is counted to this point.

Close calls too in other other districts. In the Oregon 5th, incumbent Democrat Kurt Schrader, who was very hard pressed by Republican Scott Bruun, has maintained a thin but consistent lead. In the Washington 2nd, Republican John Koster has a small lead over incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen, but little over a thousand votes, and only a first run of vote totals are up - too little to judge from.

Check points

You never know from one election to the next which spot in a given state will have the most up-to-date information; it keeps changing. So we operate on a list of several, each election night. No real point in checking before 8 p.m. local time. Link list:

WASHINGTON
Secretary of State - usually one of the best, regionally as well as in Washington. Love their county-breakout results maps.
King County Elections - home of around half of Washington's ballots.
Seattle Times - general coverage plus numbers.

OREGON
Secretary of State - not sure what they'll have on line tonight; historically, there's not been a lot of real-time data here. But check it out.
Multnomah County Elections - Notoriously late in processing, but check here to see how things will look on Wednesday.
Oregonian - Often the best real-time data comes via the Oregonian.
KGW-TV - This Portland station often has tightly-timed data as well.

IDAHO
Secretary of State - In the last couple of cycles the SoS has been posting good-time numbers. They advise that won't start till 9mtn/8pac.
Ada County Elections - a number of interesting race numbers should turn up here first.
Idaho Statesman - Some years they have the most up to minute numbers in the state (for statewide, and the southwest reaches of Idaho). Sometimes not.
KTVB-TV - Traditionally strong with election night numbers, though mileage varies.

On air

If you're around Twin Falls, or available to a radio stream: I'm on the morning news program at KLIX-AM, out of Twin Falls, right about now - just past 9 a.m. Mountain Time.

Topic du jour can be reasonably resumed.