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The deep freeze goes on


Another general election has come and gone in Idaho, and you’d be forgiven if you took little notice of it.

As per usual, for three decades and running, practically nothing has changed. Republicans remain overwhelmingly dominant: If you’re under the red banner, you’re solid, with a handful of exceptions.

The big contest, the one that got most attention and energy, was for attorney general, and took its present form after former U.S. Representative Raul Labrador won the Republican primary last May, defeating long-time incumbent Lawrence Wasden. After that, the Democrats picked up a new nominee, attorney Tom Arkoosh, and a decent-sized crowd of prominent Republicans, some of them former statewide elected officials, who broke with Labrador and backed the Democrat.

Labrador won in the usual landslide.

The support for status quo was sufficiently strong that voters – and I count this as a modest surprise – even went along with a legislative request to allow it to call itself into session.

Still, a few items on the results sheet do stand out and are worth some mention.

That Republican Governnor Brad Little easily won re-election was no surprise, but the fact that non-aligned Ammon Bundy got as many votes as he did – more than 100,000, and approaching the Democratic total – should open some eyes.

Two state Senate results, cutting in opposing directions, are worthy of note.

In District 6, Democratic incumbent David Nelson appears narrowly to have lost to Republican Dan Foreman, a former senator Nelson defeated some time ago. Foreman became well known for his rude and insulting behavior (such as calling his main district community a “cesspool”), so more of that likely will be coming over the next couple of years.

That result means Democrats will have not a single state legislator from a district north of Boise.

Speaking of which, in the west-Boise District 15, Democrat Rick Just did prevail, again narrowly, over Republican Codi Galloway (after the Republican incumbent Galloway beat in the primary, Fred Martin, endorsed Just for the general).

The biggest surprise for Democrats – that they would be happy about – was the result in District 26, the new and heavily reshaped district which brings Democratic Blaine and Republican Jerome counties together. The usual voting patterns there suggested that Blaine would be outvoted and Republicans would dominate in the new district, but it didn’t work out that all: All three Democratic candidates there, just one of them an incumbent (Ned Burns), prevailed. That also meant a current Republican legislator, Laurie Lickley, the party’s candidate for state Senate there, was defeated – a very rare case of a Republican incumbent defeat in Idaho. (Late note: Election officials said on Thursday that a vote total transcription error occurred in one of those three races, so a Republican did win one of the three seats.)

So you can find some items of interest among this year’s Idaho voting results. But you have to look carefully.


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