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Posts published in “Day: January 19, 2014”

What made the front page


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Two lobbyists conduct GP campaign school (Boise Statesman)
Special school elections coming up (Lewiston Tribune)
Democrats get more respect in legislature (Lewiston Tribune)
Prison escapees have links to Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Wolf plan survives in court (Nampa Press Tribune)
Big new regional sheriffs armored vehicle (Pocatello Journal)
New chamber plans on economic development (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello schools still deciding on fired coach (Pocatello Journal)
Sandpoint Fire Chief retires (Sandpoint Bee)
Problems with mobile elk (TF Times News)

The upcoming legislative session (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing KF downtown redevelopment (KF Herald & News)
Concerns about Medford gang violence (Medford Tribune)
Former commissioner Walker dies (Medford Tribune)
Review of Cover Oregon's mishaps (Portland Oregonian)
Contest for Roseburg council seats (Roseburg Review)
E-cigarettes become more popular (Salem Statesman-Journal)

The risks of going into pot business (Everett Herald)
Bakers face discrimination issues (Kennewick Herald)
Finishing work on Boeing tanker (Everett Herald)
Sheriff proposes law enforcement levy (Longview News)
Child porn victims want restitution (Everett Herald, Longview News)
Oil distributor shuts down (Port Angeles News)
Acting prosecutor will quit (Port Angeles News)
Prepping for more oil shipments (Spokane Spokesman)
Legislators hear about medical pot (Tacoma News Tribune)
Looking ahead to legislature, budget (Yakima Herald Republic)

Lesson from the past

idaho RANDY

An array of familiar Democratic faces turned up Tuesday at the Boise press conference where attorney Nels Mitchell announced his run for the Senate against Republican Jim Risch, but one in particular may have resonated for people familiar with recent Idaho politics.

He was Mike Burkett, a former state senator and like Mitchell an attorney. Also like him, he has run as a Democrat against Risch. What's remarkable about Burkett is that he is one of the few people ever to beat Risch in a political contest.

That was in 1988, long before Risch was a U.S. senator, but at another time when he was powerfully positioned in the state, as Senate president pro tem. Risch then had been winning elections for 18 years (for county prosecutor, then senator) and had never lost one. He was very smart, disciplined, an excellent speaker and debater and (with his wife Vicki) a fine political strategist, and centrally positioned among Idaho Republicans in his points of view.

There was also a rap on him: That he was arrogant, loved to wield power, stepped on people. Respect was there; likability slipped over time. By 1986 Risch's winning margin was 54 percent, not a marker of strength. In 1988 he made the mistake of backing a primary challenge to a sometimes obstreperous member of his caucus, Rachel Gilbert. Gilbert, as was her wont, shot back, describing Risch as a Statehouse power out to crush independent-minded people like her. She won her primary.

When Burkett ran against Risch that year, he played a role Gilbert could have scripted: As an outsider and an unknown with a small-town demeanor, which didn't stop him from blasting Risch strongly, feeding the narrative of Risch as a powerful insider. Risch lost.

That of course was a quarter-century ago, and Idaho was a different place then, less Republican than now. Risch since has gone on to win more elections. (Disclaimer here: I was campaign manager for one of his opponents, in 2002.) The power-seeker rap wouldn't work nearly as well now in the context of a U.S. Senate seat, where he's one vote out of 100, and in the minority (at present), and working mostly outside the state. (more…)