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Posts published in “Day: May 15, 2018”

(Primary) election night


Tonight, a short running updated blog on the elections. My intent is to keep at it until we get resolution of the key races ... as long as that's tonight ...

11:24p It's mostly wrapped up now; the closest question mark seems to be the lieutenant governor's race. More comments on various of these contests coming soon ...

9:55p Numbers are still incomplete, of course, but returns now indicating a long string of Idaho Republican legislators, a few in the north and a nch in the east, may be lose their primaries. The numbers currently so indicate for Reps. Heather Scott, Jeff Thompson, Julie VanOrden, Tom Loertscher, Ron Nate.

9:25p Waiting on votes from northern Idaho, maybe especially significant in the Republican governor's race, where Raul Labrador has fallen, for now at least, into third place. The north might energize his numbers a bit.

On the Democratic side, the Jordan lead seems to be holding steady.

9:15p Be it noted that there was a special election in Pennsylvania for a state House seat, and it flipped from Republican to Democratic. Pretty much everything else on the ballot today was of an intra-party nature; this was nearly the only thing to amount to a true party contest.

8:55p Ah, the New York Times has faster data.

The Democratic contest foe governor is quite the spectacular. With 17% of precincts in, Paulette Jordan is way ahead, 58% to A.J. Balukoff's 39%, and has been ahead consistently. Blaine County is a big facotr in this - it's nearly all in - but the biggest chunk of the reported vote so far is in Ada County, a third of which has reported, and which theoretically ought to be Balukoff's base. A long way to go, but this could be a significant upset in the making.

On the Republican side, things have been steadier all evening, with a not-massive but steady lead by Brad Little. Of the 17 counties reporting so far, Raul Labrador is leading just two two (Canyon and Jefferson), while Tommy Ahlquist leads in four - leaving Little ahead in 11 of 17. Many numbers yet to come in, but Little has a good, solid start.

And Republican lieutenant governor is still close, and the 1st House district (with Fulcher way ahead) still is not.

8:51p On the Oregon gubernatorial, Buehler seems to have the nomination locked down. But he's getting less than half of the vote, after spending many months (until quite recently) commonly considered the obvious nominee. There seems to be a significant part of the party's electorate unwilling to embrace him. In truth, he's been bipartisan enough that it's not hard to understand. But he's not likely to attract many votes from the other side of the fence, either, in the fall.

Statewide Idaho vote is coming in a little sluggishly, at least on the state website.

8:45p On a local level, have to say I'm surprised that our city's public safety bond - a small one, to build a new and much-needed police building - looks to be failing, and decisively, about 60-40. It seemed to have lots of support, with more than 150 yard signs posted (this in a town of 2,000 people) and lots of positive reaction, only limited negative. (Disclosure: We did some volunteer work for the campaign.) But goes to show you never can take these local tax measures to granted, not that the advocates did - they ran a sound and energetic campaign. But the subject is going to have to be addressed again.

8:29p Early numbers now in both Idaho and Oregon; nothing decisive yet, though. Maybe.

In the Oregon Republican gubernatorial, Bend legislator Knute Buehler is off to a good start with close to half of the overall vote (in a large field); if that holds for a while longer, he may have the nomination sewn up. So far, he's showing leads in all of the populous western and central counties, and his closest competition, San Carpenter, has leads mainly in the low-population rural eastern counties. The theory that a split opposition leads to a Buehler win seems to be holding up. (On the Democratic side, a lightly opposed incumbent Kate Brown has well over 80% of the vote.)

In Idaho, far fewer votes are counted as yet (49 of 961 precincts). The early numbers give a big lead in the 1st House district to Russ Fulcher, with David Leroy in a distant second, and all others bunched far behind; this is looking like what it long seemed to be, which was a Fulcher-Leroy contest (with the edge to Fulcher). The early numbers also are showing a modest but real lead in the Republican gubernatorial for Brad Little, with Raul Labrador in second place and Tommy Ahlquist in a not too-distant third (the percentages early on were about 40-30-25). Some clue about the meaning of that may come in the Democratic primary, where in the early voting Paulette Jordan was running far ahead - about 2 to 1 - of A.J. Balukoff. The large-field lieutenant governor's race looked to be a tight three-way battle between Marv Hagedorn, Janice McGeachin and Steve Yates, and this one is far from settled.

7:48p Most of the PA and NE races, in truth, are not high-stakes in the larger picture. One or two of the PA House races could matter, in terms of whether a party will be well-enough candidate-armed come the fall. That may be true as well in NE-2. And certainly Pennsylvania could be pivotal in deciding whether the House flips. But the individual races tonight, mostly at least, do not seem very determinative. Oregon and Idaho, at least locally, promise to be more so.

7:31p A good chunk of the Nebraska vote is in, enough to discern one of the hotter primaries of the evening so far. Nebraska 2 is the one realistically competitive congressional district there, and it's looking like a close call between Brad Ashford (very narrowly in the lead) and Kara Eastman. Eastman is the outsider, Ashland the legislative veteran. (The winner will face Republican Don Bacon, the uncontested incumbent.)

7:20p A lot of the Pennsylvania numbers are coming in, though it's a little difficult at this point to work out the meaning of many of them. The catch is partly that some of the numbers - including sometimes-pivotal Bucks County - look a little odds, in terms of totals and amounts. For example, in one Republican contest, " A moment ago, 13% of the vote was reporting statewide in Pennsylvania, and Lou Barletta had just a 53-47 lead on Jim Christiana. Now, with 14% reporting—in other words, a fairly small increase in the total vote—Barletta’s leapt out to a 66-34 advantage." Will keep a watch.

Why not to Gitmo?


Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to file criminal charges against every person illegally crossing the border. In order to carry out the order he is sending 35 prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to the border states.

As part of this crackdown, Sessions says that kids will be separated from their parents and held in different detention facilities. “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.” That is certainly an enlightened, family-friendly policy.

Actually, John Kelly first floated the idea of separating kids from their parents last year when he was Homeland Security Secretary. His thought was that such a punitive measure might discourage others from seeking asylum in the U.S. I suppose another effective means of discouraging people from fleeing violence in their home countries would be to send their kids to the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. That type of punishment would certainly discourage people.

It is hard to fathoms the depths to which our dear country has stooped in the immigration debate. We do need to have secure borders, but we have usually given people seeking asylum a reasonable chance to make their case before lowering the boom on them. Many of the border crossers have suffered great violence at home and would risk death if they were sent back.

Separating young kids from their parents and holding them apart from their parents is beyond the pale. Many of these kids have been traumatized in their homeland and on the arduous journey to our border. They don’t need the added trauma of being incarcerated separate and apart from their parents.

Although Sessions just announced the program on May 7, the Office of Refugee Resettlement reported last month that over 700 children, including 100 under the age of 4, have been separated at the border since last October. There does not appear to be any real policy for reuniting parents with their children.

Adding to the problem is the shortage of immigration judges. It is not like there are dozens of them sitting around with nothing to do. The immigration courts are jammed to the gills, resulting in long waits in detention for both parents and children. Currently, there are about a quarter million asylum cases pending in those courts.

Neither is there a large surplus of federal prosecutors. Those we do have would be much better employed going after drug dealers, terrorists, organized crime figures, white collar swindlers and other serious threats to the country’s health, safety, and economy. Diverting skilled prosecutors from important public business to go after low-level border crossers is a waste of valuable resources. But, then, Sessions is the guy who also wants to use this pool of crime fighters to stuff our prisons with low-risk drug offenders.

We can protect our borders without resorting to cruel measures that demean our country and traumatize innocent kids. America is better than that.