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Posts published in “Day: November 8, 2014”

The power of the R (in Idaho)

idaho RANDY

Don't say there was no difference in the received vote between Republican candidates who were noncontroversial and those drowning in negatives in the just-ended campaign. Yes, they all alike won, but the counts varied and even give us some measure of controversial-ness.

Atop the ticket, Senator Jim Risch, whose re-election campaign didn't draw massive public attention, despite strenuous efforts from his opponent, won about 285,000 votes. (I'm rounding off for simplicity.) Fellow Republicans Lawerence Denney for secretary of state won about 44,000 less, C.L. “Butch” Otter for governor about 50,000 less, and Sherri Ybarra for superintendent of public instruction about 68,000 less (barely avoiding a loss). You likely remember, or can Google, the many issues surrounding them.

This means about 40,000 to 60,000 Republicans did split off from an otherwise Republican ballot when presented with compelling arguments to do so. That's significant, and I'll return to them on another occasion. But an operating majority of voters, somewhere around 220,000 of them, were by comparison impervious to the arguments that peeled off other Republicans.

That point is being made not just from the left. Kent Marmon, a sometimes Republican candidate in Canyon County who often critiques the Idaho Republican establishment from the right, said on a Facebook post, “As I watched the election results unfold last night, I couldn't help but think that if Barack Obama moved to Idaho, joined the Republican Party, and ran for office as a Republican.... he could get elected. Issues apparently don't matter. Neither does anything else.”

Also on Facebook, a woman from Nampa (a Democrat) sent an open request to Republican friends: “Please name three (3) reasons you voted for Sherri Ybarra. I'm not being snarky. I genuinely want to know why you would pick Ms. Ybarra over Ms. [Jana] Jones. Serious answers only, please.”

She got about 90 replies, but from down the line Republicans . . . nothing.

Of the many apparently non-Republican respondents, a few said the election was “rigged,” which it was not, and others thought gerrymandering was involved, which it could not have been. One said, “I cannot find a Republican that will admit to voting for her.” But, evidently, a whole lot of them did.

Another: “My guess is that people who voted for her didn't even know what she was running for. They saw the "R" beside her name and colored the circle in. I don't think you will find an educated Republican who did vote for her.” And: “Based on what I heard said: 1) she's Republican. 2) there is a black man in the White House (who wants to take my guns). 3) she's 'good looking'."

A variation: “It simply was the 'obama/bogeyman syndrome' that many in Idaho believe. It started with the IACI labeling Mr. [A.J.] Balukoff as a "liberal" and using that simplistic tactic in all the races. Ibarra with "D" in front of her name would have gotten less than 10% of the vote (taking into account of really stupid voters who pay absolutely no attention to who their voting for) To hear some of the people on fb and KIDO and KBOI, you would think that AJ was the "antichrist" because of the lies spread about him.”

How close to the truth did these latter comments come? Good question. They're guesswork from outsiders speculating about the opposition camp.

One writer said she had a number of Tea Party friends who “are very vocal on their own feed. This thread may not feel safe for them. But holy jelly donut – stand up for what you believe in, otherwise it's just a herd of lemmings talking to themselves in the mirror.”

So I'll pitch a request here, to party-line Republican voters (others, please hold off): Send me a note, at the email address below, noting the main reason or two why you voted for Ybarra, Denney and Otter. Call it a public service. Idaho will be better off if the whole of the state has a clearer idea why its next round of elected leadership was chosen, and few majority voters are clearly explaining that now.

I'll follow up next week.

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)

Simplot GMO potato approved by USDA (Boise Statesman)
Looking into National Guard helicopter crash (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Republicans look for recount in District 6 (Lewiston Tribune)
Study checks sea lions, chinook links (Lewiston Tribune)
Pocatello nears new comprehensive plan (Pocatello Journal)
Animal cruelty law in Idaho blasted (TF Times News)

What's ahead for Kitzhaber's 4th (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Reguster Guard)
Homeless whoville returns in new spot (Eugene Register Guard)
Irrigators looking for more security for water (KF Herald & News)
Senators seek to confirm ambassador from Portland (KF Herald & News)
Death of cow probably not wolf-related (Medford Tribune)
Study urges people to prepare for wildfire long-term (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston will consider panhandling rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Large number of coho in run (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Ethics commission declines answer to Kitzhaber (Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Del Smith, of Evergreen Aviation, dies (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon State Police getting new headquarters (Salem Statesman Journal)

Kitsap prosecutor race narrows again (Bremerton Sun)
Another death in Marysville school shooting (Seattle Times, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Man cops tased awarded $600k (Everett Herald)
Sheldon win in race in 35 concluded (Olympian)
Lewis-McChord named as troop quarantine location (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Simplot GMO potato approved by USDA (Seattle Times)
Two Spokane wine labels shut down (Spokane Spokesman)
Wildfires cut into Washington tourism (Spokane Spokesman)
Pressing for more Tacoma-area sidewalks (Tacoma News Tribune)
Stewart wins Clark Co commission seat (Vancouver Columbian)
AP declares Newhouse winner of 4th House seat (Yakima Herald Republic)