Sep 07 2011

Carlson: A first-ever?

Published by at 7:43 am under Carlson,Idaho

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Odds are heavily against it happening soon. Stars would plausibly all have to align perfectly to create a first ever in Idaho politics—the election of a woman as governor.

Looking around the northwest, though, one quickly realizes odds are growing that a qualified female will someday lead even Idaho. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Utah are neighboring northwest states that have had female chief executives.

In Idaho, each party possesses at least one talented, intelligent, articulate, qualified female who, while they might have to be “drafted,” could plausibly run for and win the nomination of their party to be governor, as soon as 2014.

On the Republican side the nominee could be veteran Sandpoint State Senator Shawn Keough. On the Democratic side the nominee could be freshman State Senator Michelle Stennett, from Ketchum.

While there are clear differences between them, they share much in common: both are smart, tough, knowledgeable, non-ideological, pragmatic problem solvers. They share an abiding belief in the importance of education as well as its priority place Idaho’s constitutional writers said it should have.

Senator Keough has an edge in understanding how Idaho’s budget works because of long-standing service on the budget writing Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. Senator Stennett, however, worked closely for many years on legislative and budget matters with her late husband, Clint, who she succeeded upon his death last year.

Keough’s possible candidacy would be more intriguing and surprising for it would throw a major monkey-wrench into the plans of extreme far right Republicans trying to impose ideological purity tests on any who dissent from their views on issues. Even such whacky notions as repealing the amendment that put the election of U.S. Senators in the hands of voters instead of the hands of a Legislature is considered a litmus test in order to call one’s self a Republican.

Both State Senator Keough and neighboring Cocolalla State Senator Joyce Broadsword have been subjected to GOP county party censure resolutions for not being pure enough defenders of right-wing orthodoxy, especially on the issue of education.

Senator Keough’s concerns about proposed Otter/Luna reforms as well as what turned out to be unnecessary cuts in education funding because of political posturing and gamesmanship, could make her candidacy very attractive to the many members of the Republican party, as well as Idaho’s independents, that still support the primacy of adequately funding k-12 education, paying teachers competitive wages and also keeping higher education funding at responsible levels.

While this is all pure speculation, and would be considered at best terribly premature by both (the governorship is not on the ballot until 2014) if either has even given any thought to it, both are astute enough politicians to recognize real obstacles that would stand in the way of such a contest happening.

For Senator Stennett it would be the continuing disarray of the Democratic party itself and its inability to recapture the Cecil Andrus/John Evans formula for attracting enough Republicans and Independents to carry a Democrat into statewide office.

For Senator Keough, she would not only have to withstand a primary challenge sure to come from the right wing in 2012, she would have to hope the “crown prince,” Lt. Governor Brad Little, would be challenged by two hard-core, tea party favorites, and southern Idaho LDS conservatives—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and First District Congressman Raul Labrador. While there is growing evidence Luna is seriously considering the race, lately some Boise political observers speculate Labrador is also taking a long look at the governorship.

If all three males were to get into the fray, though, it is a safe wager pressure would increase on Senator Keough to take the plunge, especially if the state’s teachers and university educators were to line up in support of her. Then, she could easily emerge from such a fractured primary.

The bigger obstacle though for her may be the effect of Republican Party led changes in Idaho’s primary system. These changes are clearly designed to make party nominees more pure in the eyes of the tea party as well as designed to keep independents from voting in the Republican primary, as well as Democrats from crossing over.

So the stars really will have to line up correctly. It is possible though Idaho could see a rarity of rarities: two highly qualified women leading their party’s ticket in 2014. Idahoans will be the winners regardless of who emerges in such a race, which can’t be said if the GOP selects one of the two possible male candidates who are the only ones that can pass the purity test of the GOP’s wing-nut faction.

A native of Kellogg, a former teacher at Kootenai, and a former journalist, Chris Carlson served as press secretary to former Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus for ten years. He is the founding partner of the Gallatin Group, is now retired and he and his wife, Marcia, reside at Medimont.

Share on Facebook

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.

Share on Facebook

 


Oregon State Highway film from 1966. A few changes since then.

 

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here