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Posts published in “Day: May 22, 2014”

Shut the hell up

rainey BARRETT


Primary election season is over. For now. Control of your television viewing has been returned to you. For now. Campaign signs blooming like unwanted weeds along all your routes of travel have been removed. For now. Other, more newsworthy events are being reported. For now.

So - looking back at the onslaught on our senses for all these months - what has been wrought for all the millions of dollars spent? With rare exception - not much. Not much at all. Do we feel pride for what we’ve just been through in exercising our democratic rights at the polls? Not much. Not much at all.

Given the obscene amounts of money spent, all the noise-making, all the charges and countercharges made, all the lies told about opposing candidates, all the time consumed making frivolous charges while allowing important issues to go without comment - what have we gained? All together now - “not much.”

Matter of fact, damned few of us cared enough to vote. In Idaho, about one-in-five registered voters made the trip. Even in Oregon - where you’re sent a ballot, given two weeks to think about your choices and return the form for free - less than half did so.

Pundits are now pawing through the crumpled ballots looking for trends - trying to find clues to what we’ll face at November’s general election - digging in the various Secretary of State’s computer files for statistical evidence of messages the minority of the electorate may have been sending. They won’t find much.

Since so many stayed away from the polls, there’s little meaningful “treasure” in the remnants of primary day. Except maybe this. Those of us who cared enough to show up seemed to be saying “Let’s just stay where we are - let’s not make any serious moves left or right.” Like all of us, I backed some winners and I some losers. That’s just politics. That’s just politics the way it’s supposed to be. Win some. Lose some.

There were a few messages sent. Idaho’s governor took a kick in the shins from many in his former constituency while hanging on to his office key. At least for now. An Idaho legislative candidate who wasn’t running said he wouldn’t serve if elected. He was. He likely will. Oregon Republicans opted to support a senatorial candidate who appears to have serious emotional and relationship issues. Several Northwest legislators found abrupt ends to long careers with voters finally saying “Enough already.”

Yes, there are some interesting stories to be had if reporters want to spend the time digging around. But with far less than half the voters showing up to have their say, will there be enough readers or watchers who give a damn to make their efforts rewarding? (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)

Trying to bring GOP together (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Albertsons buys name for Bronco Stadium (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Census puts Nampa still at 2nd largest (Boise Statesman)
Gas prices down a little (Lewiston Tribune)
Possible recount on Canyon commission (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello retains anti-discrimination ordinance (Pocatello Journal)
Major election glitch at Caribou County (Pocatello Journal)
Blaine County election troubles (TF Times News)
Cops coping with pot on road from legal states (TF Times News)
Three cinemas in TF shut down next week (TF Times News)

Land trade raises hackles (Astorian)
Reviewing GMO bans (Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Razor close Lane Co commission race (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath water bill goes to Senate (KF Herald & News)
Utility costs at Ashland rise (Ashland Tidings)
Jackson Co sheriffs contest is on (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Cover's Golberg departs, still paid (Portland Oregonian)
Wehby would take cut pay in Senate (Salem Statesman Journal)

Oso charity rises to $7 million (Everett Herald)
Boeing revising its internal design approach (Everett Herald)
'Cosmic crisp' apple appears (Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
Murray seeks help with school lunch funds (Kennewick Herald)
Columbia Co jail levy passes this year (Longview News)
Lawyer says legislature is in court contep
Kelso kicks embattled member from committees (Longview News)
Seattle fastest growing big city (Seattle Times, May 11)
Adam Smith joins Benghazi panel (Seattle Times, May 11
Idaho Panhandle votes even further right (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark Co gains Ridgefield site (Vancouver Columbian)
Shutting down Columbian River Crossing (Vancouver Columbian)
Oil terminal debate continues (Vancouver Columbian)

The winners

carlson CHRIS


In looking at the results of the May 20 primary, the biggest winner was easily Second District incumbent Mike Simpson. He trounced Tea Party/Club for Growth primary challenger Bryan Smith, an Idaho Falls attorney, by a 68% to 32% margin.

By educating second district voters to how weird some of the positions held by Tea Party adherents are, and how badly they will distort an incumbent’s record as a rock-solid conservative, Simpson undoubtedly saved Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter’s candidacy for a third term.

Butch ought to send Mike a box of fresh Idaho spuds every month for the next four years and he ought to offer to come by once a month to kiss Simpson’s ring while slicing, dicing and cooking up the hash browns.

Make no mistake about it, while Otter won on Tuesday, he was still the biggest loser. While voter turnout was abysmally low, something the Tea Party purists wanted (Only the pure of heart and only 100% God-fearing, gun-toting, government-hating, education-bashing, ObamaCare haters) were meant to vote in the GOP’s closed primary.

They got their wish, so to speak, by holding the primary vote totals statewide to between 20% and 25% of eligible voters. This enabled their favored candidates, especially gubernatorial challenger State Senator Russ Fulcher of Meridian, to mount a more effective challenge because the universe of votes needed to win was suddenly much, much smaller.

The day after Governor Otter must have been literally stunned to see that he lost not just rural counties where Tea Party organization was presumably
stronger, but he also lost Ada County, his home county of Canyon and Kootenai - in other words, he lost the urban/suburban vote in the First District as well. A challenge from his right also had to stun the self-proclaimed libertarian.

The results showed how well First District congressman Raul Labrador read his district and correctly calculated that endorsing Fulcher over Otter in the latter days of the campaign would not hurt him.

Where Otter pulled it out was in the urban areas of Bonneville, Bannock, Bingham and Twin Falls counties - the cities of Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Blackfoot and Twin Falls. Otter also narrowly carried the LDS vote in most of the Mormon counties of eastern Idaho.

The only conclusion one can draw when an incumbent sees only slightly more than half the voters voting to return him in his own party’s primary is that a lot of people don’t think he has done anything to merit a third term. (more…)