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Posts published in “Day: April 15, 2014”

The financial base and the voting base

harris ROBERT


Welcome Robert Harris, our latest contributor at Ridenbaugh Press. Harris has lived his entire life in the Oregon and Washington. He is the managing partner of Harris Law Firm, a general practice “Mom and Pop” law firm of ten attorneys located in the Portland Oregon metro region. For 30 years he was a registered Democrat but is now a leader in the Independent Party of Oregon and the editor of

The US Supreme Court's line of cases protecting virtually unlimited election spending (and likely soon to make unlimited campaign contributions protected as free speech) has greatly empowered party and candidate financiers. A relatively small number of large corporations, unions, and wealthy donors are a distinct financial base within each major party. And a Party’s financial base is as important as the voting base. Because while money will automatically create a viable candidate (see Monica Wehby) and thus votes, a voting base won’t automatically create a large enough financial base to win an election.

So, it’s fair to now say that each major party has a distinct and powerful voting base and a financial base. And the edge the Democratic Party in Oregon has is that it’s financial base and voting base have greater issue overlap than the Republican financial and voting bases.

OR GOP base parties

The Oregon Democratic financial base is clearly unions and more specifically public employee unions. And the Democratic Party is very clear that it’s number one issue is the well being of employees. Preferably union employees, and more specifically public employees. Whether the issue is PERS, public spending on construction projects or schools, tax increases to pay for these services, government oversight or control of the land use process, the financial base and voting base of the Democratic Party are generally in sync on major issues and policies. Consequently, there is little tension within the Party and it can act very cohesively with less internal disruption or conflict between the two bases.

In comparison, the Republican financial base is more interested in a libertarian capitalism. Less government regulation and low taxes, while it’s voting base is more animated by social issues . Though low taxation and less government regulation are important as well for the voter base their blood boiling issues are immigration, gay marriage, abortion, and religious policies such as prayer in school and evolution. And, while disagreements between the Democratic financial base and voting base are more related to relative importance of a particular policy, the differences between the Republican financial and voter base are more often about the policy itself. Businesses want immigration reform. And think being anti gay is bad for business. (more…)

The case for Fulcher

mansfield DENNIS

Many states are preparing to soon hold their Primary elections. Throughout the western states, the primaries are often held in the spring. For some states, like Arizona, their races for party nominations are held at the end of summer.

In Idaho, this party-centric nominating election is held in late May.

The two races that seem to capture the lion's share of attention and news in Idaho are the GOP Primary races for Attorney General and Governor.

I've already covered the Attorney General race - stating that Christ (pronounced Chris) Troupis would make fine NEW attorney general. The incumbent's tenure has simply been too long. (Having advocated term limits and fought a dying battle on behalf of them in Idaho, I STILL believe that elected officials MUST return home - either by force of law or force of vote.)

Regarding Governor, the case is the same.

Idaho's sitting Governor, Butch Otter, and I have known each other for 23, almost 24 years. Many of those years have been friendly years - only distancing ourselves for a brief period of time when one another got in the way of the other's mutually-desired GOP nomination to US Congress - a dozen-plus years ago. He won. I endorsed him the very next day and worked to see him get elected three times as Congressman and then twice as Governor. I have a deep affection and fondness for Butch and Lori Otter.

I also have a deep, decades-long friendship with Russ Fulcher and his family. I write about Russ in my book Beautiful Nate.

Originally, since neither candidate had asked for my endorsement, I withheld it. I just sat and watched - until this week.

Maybe it was today being Tax Day, maybe it was just my nature to think long and then act ...

Today I decided to act and endorse State Senator Russ Fulcher for the GOP nomination for Governor of Idaho.

Here's why:

Governor Butch Otter made two large blunders.

First, he embraced (and then led on) the state healthcare insurance exchange plan. He had a chance to be the Butch Otter many Idahoans have come to know and appreciate. Oddly, Butch Otter failed to BE Butch Otter on this major issue, failing to join many of his fellow GOP governors as they stood against it.

Second, he decided to run a third time as governor. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Eagle seizes part of greenbelt tract (Boise Statesman)
Women sue BSU on sex assault (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Lewiston extends smoking ban (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho public defender system blasted (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU will help at Oso mudslide (Moscow News)
Syringa park still said not in compliance (Moscow News)
Moscow city looking for marketing, rebranding (Moscow News)
Enrollment down at Treasure Valley CC (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon house prices and prices up (Nampa Press Tribune)
200 jobs at new Shelley jerky plant (Pocatello Journal)
Seizure of pot-laced candy at Montpelier (Pocatello Journal)
Litehouse buys Coldwater building (Sandpoint Bee)
Compromise Rangen water call ruling (TF Times News)
Battle between Lincoln clerk, planning head (TF Times News)
Businesses weigh in on TF downtown renewal (TF Times News)

More opening for Oregon jobs (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Benton Commission candidates at forum (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Eugene sets new business tax break (Eugene Register Guard)
KF explores air service options (KF Herald & News)
Klamath water project still short of water (KF Herald & News)
Gold Hill considers waste facility (Medford Tribune)
Oregonian nabs Pulitzer for PERS edits (Portland Oregonian)
Salem doc top OR earner for Medicaid (Salem Statesman Journal)
Chemeketa president in line for new job (Salem Statesman Journal)

Jail death care settled for $1.3m (Everett Herald)
GEO okays Boeing tanker effort (Everett Herald)
Kennewick faces coach abuse case (Kennewick Herald)
Maybe cleanup cuts at Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
Feds block some water for pot fields (Kennewick Herald)
Sequim city hall demolished (Port Angeles News)
Rodney Tom won't run again (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Goldmark reverses, accepts $100k timber money (Seattle Times)
Heavy drawndowns at Wanapum Dam (Spokane Spokesman)
Fire wipes out Puyallup fair hall (Tacoma News Tribune)
Herrera Beutler on fish preservation bill (Vancouver Columbian)
Ethics board reviews legislators free lunches (Vancouver Columbian)
Utilities/Transportation reviews party buses (Yakima Herald Republic)