Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: September 14, 2014”

Ds and Rs on one side . . .

idaho RANDY

The problem – or is it an asset? - that the advocates of a top-two primary in Oregon have may be in part that the advocates are hard to easily define.

The opposition is clear enough, and it starts with both major political parties. It's easy to understand why: The current closed primary system in Oregon gives both parties a great deal of internal control over the system and effectively shuts out people who don't declare a membership within either. Primary election ballots for non-D and non-R voters is awfully thin.

Of course, this also has had a gradual effect of pushing each party away from each other, and of hearing less (and having to respond less) toward the large number of people in the middle, or simply on the sidelines. Add the number of people who either register as a member of no party or with the Independent Party of Oregon, and you have a third major party (in number, albeit unorganized) whose impact on state politics could be vast.

The Oregonian reported on September 12 that the backers of a top-two system received a lot of money from business-supportive people and groups, which suggests one set of possible outcomes (a broader-appealing set of Republican candidates) that some backers might like. Some of them may be looking across the state line to Washington's 4th congressional district.

That state has a top-two system (as does California) and in the 4th, the two candidates who advance to the general election are Clint Didier, a Tea Party hard liner, and Dan Newhouse, a more centrist conservative (who was endorsed by the district's current Republican representative, Doc Hastings). In the primary, Didier came in first, and had the parties simply selected their nominees at that point, he would have become the Republican nominee running in the fall against a Democrat; in this very Republican district, he would have won easily. Under the new system, two Republicans – Didier and Newhouse – will be running, and Newhouse has the odds since he is likely to pick up most of the non-Republican, as well as many of the Republican, votes.

Democrats may not have been thrilled about having no candidate in the 4th come November; and if Didier loses the Tea Party won't be thrilled either. But the people in between in the 4th may be happier with their choices.

Points worth reflecting as Oregon considers in a few weeks how to structure its own primaries.

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)

Fast construction again at Harris Ranch (Boise Statesman)
Will 'Otter fatigue' help Balukoff? (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News)
School funding varies by district (IF Post Register)
FCC subpoenas Idaho's broadband deal (IF Post Register)
Lewiston consider large new park (Lewiston Tribune)
Caldwell celebrates C of I football return (Nampa Press Tribune)
More diverse cultures in Magic Valley (TF Times News)

Taxis complain about ride-share business (Eugene Register Guard)
Overview of Measure 91 on pot (KF Herald & News)
Possible dry winter ahead in southern Oregon (Medford Tribune)
Medford professionals study site selection (Medford Tribune)
High cost of Hep C pill treatment (Portland Oregonian)
Polk County lwa enforcement struggles (Salem Statesman Journal)

Kitsap considers gun ranges, safety rules (Bremeton Sun)
Enchanted chalet moved 70 feet from edge (Bremeton Sun)
Cowlitz on top for criminal cases (Longview News)
Salmon returning in upper Elwha (Port Angeles News)
Pot grower pulls out of project (Port Angeles News)
Angry debate over cuts to elected pay (Port Angeles News)
Behind the probllems at Mars Hill (Seattle Times)
Service slow for mentally ill criminally charged (Seattle Times)
Spokane's utilities leader shakes it up (Spokane Spokesman)
Closer criminal screens for county fair workers (Tacoma News Tribune)
More growth in Ridgefield (Vancouver Columbian)
Clark prosecutor candidate resume disputed (Vancouver Columbian)