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Posts published in “Day: May 20, 2014”

Incumbent resiliency

idaho RANDY

Idaho had two clear slates of candidates running for major offices (and some legislative as well) within the Republican primary. Conventional wisdom had it that the incumbency would probably prevail.

The CW was essentially right.

At this writing, about half of Idaho's precincts are reporting, enough for clear calls in all but the closer races. It shows Representative Mike Simpson, after a sometimes fierce challenge, prevailing in a landslide. It shows Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter winning as well, though by a much narrower margin. Lieutenant Governor Bred Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden - also clearly in the winners column.

The two major races more difficult to call, yet, are the four-ways where no incumbent is running, for secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction. In those races, Lawrence Denney (for secretary of state) was running ahead, but at least yet not definitely; he was the anti-incumbent slate choice. But John Eynon, that slate's superintendent choice, was running last in his four-way.

All the sound and fury up rising against the incumbency seems, at this point, to have come to very little.

The Wehby challenge


Pretty decisively, Oregon Republicans chosen Monica Wehby as their nominee against Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. Now we'll see how that works out.

Yes, the theory is that sending in a women would help blunt the argument that the Republican Party is anti-woman. And yes, she's a physician, and that gives her an unusual platform in campaigning against Obamacare, and Merkley's support thereof.

Republicans are also, however, getting a nominee untrained in the rough and tumble of campaigns, in contrast to her chief rival, Jason Conger. (The business of running away from rough or embarrassing questions won't cut it in the general.) They're getting one who, according to a string of editorial boards, doesn't seem much educated on many issues outside of health care. And they're getting one entering the general election campaign with several newly-developed clouds overhead.

A great deal, of course, can still depend on the Oregon and national mood several months hence. But Wehby and her staff have some big challenges to overcome between here and there.

On the part of Oregon Republicans, however, they have once again cast their bet for major office on a candidate not necessarily beloved by the base, but presented as the most electable. It hasn't worked out for several elections running; we'll see now if it does this time.

Before election day


The timing turns out to be fascinating. Could this be the court decision over Oregon law that has more political effect in the state to the east?

That's on the timing and political side of things, as regards the Monday federal court ruling throwing out Oregon's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. There are of course many other effects, such as those on the people who actually got married in Oregon on Monday, and in the days and years ahead.

The decision was in no way a surprise. The opposition had expected it. The state, whose attorney general ordinarily is obliged to defend the constitutional provision in court, considered the case against it - in the light of recent Supreme Court decisions - such a slam dunk that it refused to mount any kind of defense. There was no legal opposition to an immediate launch to effects of the measure. Had the case not been brought, or moved more slowly, the issue was destined for a ballot issue in November, and seemingly no one - including its strongest critics - seemed to have any thought that it would fail.

A remarkable turnaround from 2004, when voters passed the same-sex marriage ban into the constitution. But then, much in politics is timing, and perceptions about the way things get done. Had not Multnomah County jumped the gun on the issue the way it did, the explosive force that passed the measure might not have succeeded.

And, simply, Oregon has changed some since then too.

The Monday decision does, as in places like Utah and Idaho, run in crosscut against the wishes of the state's majority; in Oregon's case, it is surely in line. So it may have little political impact in Oregon. Especially since, in this primary election, most people already had voted by midday Monday.

In Idaho, dealing at almost the same moment with similar legal issues, it may have some political effect on today's election: Those deeply concerned about the issue may react to it.

We'll know more about that in a few hours.

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)

Opposition to Boise bike lanes (Boise Statesman)
Oregon same-sex marriage approved (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Bonneville Co voting system changes (IF Post Register)
Election today (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Gay discrimination an issue at Lewiston (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing a 2012 failed Whitman Co audit (Moscow News)
Moscow police consider new management options (Moscow News)
Council takes over Caldwell urban renewal (Nampa Press Tribune)
Massive carp take at AF reservoir (Pocatello Journal)
Shoshone Falls plant gets upgrade (TF Times News)

Same-sex marriage OKed in Oregon (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton East Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette Times, Ashland Tidings)
Downtown parking parage progresses (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Wolf critics opposing reintroduction (KF Herald & News)
Primary election set today (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Ashland Tidings)
Hermiston moves toward edit of charter (Pendleton East Oregonian)

Kitsap parks look to major upgrade (Bremerton Sun)
State reviews Kitsap highway congestion (Bremerton Sun)
Workers saw repairs around slide high-risk (Everett Herald)
County wants more time to consider slide areas (Everett Herald)
Oregon same-sex marriage approved (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Post moratorium continued at Woodland (Longview News)
Major state building may finally be named (Olympian)
Big fire on west side of Sequim (Port Angeles News)
Kilmer, Heck profiled (Port Angeles News)
Kathleen O'Toole named Seattle police chief (Seattle Times)
Seattle limits height for small lot building (Seattle Times)
Idaho GOP PAC said to be deceptive (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane holds off mobile food cart rules (Spokane Spokesman)
Water allowed for pot grows? (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver may oppose oil transfer terminal (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima limits downtown parking in snow (Yakima Herald Republic)