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Posts published in “Idaho”

Ballooning Twin

The larger areas of growth near Boise and Coeur d'Alene get most of the attention and remarks, but there are others of note. Today's Twin Falls Times News has a good roundup of growth and development at that city - substantial, too, suggesting continued expansion of a city already growing plenty in the last decade.

A question, though: To what extent is Twin expanding at the expense of other Magic Valley towns (a number of which have lost people and businesses to the regional center) and to what extent does it mark an expansion of the region?

Boise blue: The Fischer take

Yesterday we noted that the city of Boise (not the environs in Ada County) went heavily "blue" on Tuesday, voting strongly for Democratic legislators and similarly elsewhere on the ballot.

10 Commandments monumentAmong other things, Boise city voters rejected (47.3%-52.7%) the initiative aimed at moving the Ten Commandments monument back to one of the city parks from its much more visible current location on church grounds across State Street from the state capitol building. Our sense of this is that voters probably were less concerned where the monument was located than they were in putting to rest such a purely symbolic issue that has taken up a lot of attention, time and effort that might have been devoted to more practical pursuits.

There are, of course, other ways of looking at it. Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance, which championed the initiative - taking it to the state supreme court at one point - and fought the battle before that, has a rather different one, though factoring in the same political shifted we noted here.

Fischer's view: "Today is a sobering day for the pro-faith community of Boise. Not only did the city turn its back on God and his abiding standards, it also sent 12 secularists to the state legislature. Of the four main districts which lie wholly within the city limits (Districts 16-19), not a single seat is now held by a conservative.

"The reins of Boise city government are also in the hands of confirmed liberals. A kind of moral and spiritual darkness has descended on this city, and its effects will be felt for years to come."

Next up

Okay gang: The 2006 campaign cycle is dead. Long live the 2008 cycle - for the next 24 months.

A quick reminder here of what lies ahead.

ALL THREE Presidential contests await. After the results from 2004 and - atop that - this year, Washington, Oregon and Idaho may not be foremost targets; the first two have taken on deeper shades of blue and Idaho remains about as red as ever. But hope may spring quadrennial.

WASHINGTON No Senate race, but the governor and statewides will be up, along with all the U.S. House members, about half the state Senate and all of the state House. The governor's race is likely to be dominant, so expect action on developing a Republican candidate for Governor Chris Gregoire to kick in before long. Gregoire's numbers are still not where they really ought to be for a governor at this stage of term; but they are a lot better than in early 2005, and better than Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's were a few months back. Will Republican Dino Rossi try again? Our guess is not, though he likely has first right of refusal.

Expect another hard run at the 8th congressional district. As for the legislature - its level of vulnerability may depend greatly on how the enhanced Democratic majority handles its increased power.

OREGON Republican Senator Gordon Smith will be up, and a battle royal that contest may be. In 2002 he won decisively (but short of a landslide) against Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, and polling indicates he remains personally popular. But a working majority of Oregon voters has soured on Republicans, ace fundraising isn't enough (paging Ron Saxton), and several strong Democratic prospects hanging around out there. (Either former Governor John Kitzhaber, now comfortably recovering from politics though still apparently retaining an interest, or Representative Earl Blumenauer, who's been visible statewide and burnished his national support network this campaign season, would give Smith a helluva race.

Beyond that, races for partisan constitutional officers other than governor, the U.S. House delegation (all reconfirmed in their electoral strength by this year's results) and the legislature. Expect the Oregon House, teetering at the brink of partisan control, to return as a high focus of attention.

IDAHO Republican Senator Larry Craig is up, and there's some question about whether he will run again - a cycle in the minority (where, to be sure, he has been before) after those years in the majority, may be ill-appealing; especially if he wants to set about making some money pre-retirement. He already has a fierce primary opponent in Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez. Some Democrats are trying to talk recent congressional candidate Larry Grant into the race.

The House seats will be up as well, with the question being: What will be the state of play as regards Bill Sali's first term? The legislature (all of it in Idaho) will be up, with the question: Can the Democrats retain/expand their new substantial base in the city of Boise?

Boise blue

Most Idaho Democrats had to content themselves with vicarious pleasures on Tuesday; their in-state races were mostly a long string of disappointments, and for the first time in well over half a century the party is left without a single elected representative above the level of state representative.

We'd guess, though, that one finder of a silver lining was David Bieter, a nonpartisan mayor of Boise who wasn't even on the ballot Tuesday - he will be up for re-election in May. The numbers were bound to give Bieter some cheer. Especially the numbers in four legislative districts.

Go back to the top of the decade and you'll find Boise legislators who were Democrats, three of them bunched in one district, District 19 in the north end of town. There, in that little corner, they were unassailable, but mostly lost when they ventured into other districts.

Four years ago, though, there were signs of progress, with a couple of state Senate seat wins in the neighboring district. Two years ago, in 2004, they expanded on that a little, so the map of the district looked like this.

Ada districts in 2004

Clearly, the Democratic strength was expanding outside District 19 into its three neighbors (the purple areas indicate mixed delegations of three per district).

This year, they consolidated, and strikingly took over those districts, really made them their own. These districts now look like this.

(more…)

ID results 1 – The sea remains the same

The polling was leaving Idaho Democrats breathless: That sea change they've been waiting for, for the last 14 years at least, seemed at hand, with polling that actually put several Democratic candidates for major office ahead of Republicans.

Now we have the actual votes, enough of them at least to tell that the sea has not changed.

At this writing, only about half of the precincts are in. (Canyon County, notoriously late in last May's primary, is late coming in again. And so Bannock, and some others.) But the vote distribution seems generally broad enough to draw some conclusions, starting with this: The two big races on which Democrats had pinned their highest hopes, for governor and for the 1st district U.S. House seat, appear to be going to the Republicans, C.L. "Butch" Otter and Bill Sali.

And that is true despite a long string of advantages that appeared to play to Democrats' favor: A terrible national atmosphere for Republicans (a very good night for Democrats nationally), big problems in the campaigns of the Republicans, campaigns by the Democrats that were played smartly, issues that played to the Democrats' advantage, and much more. But Republicans in Idaho have massive institutional advantages at this point, and a lot of people in the state simply cannot conceive of wanting to vote for a Democrat. And they didn't.

Nor (based on the most recent results) did they win the race for superintendent of public instruction, or for state controller, and in both cases they seemed to have some unusual advantages. In the latter, strong endorsements from industry groups and even Republicans like Frnak Vander Sloot of Idaho Falls; none of that matters, evidently, nearly as much as party identification.

There are specks of light for the Democrats. On the legislative front, they did make - as we suspected they would - substantial progress in the districts of the city of Boise, taking all three seats in the three most urban of the Boise legislative districts, and two of three seats in another (apparently - results were not yet final on that one). Boise seems en route to becoming a Democratic city, a trend evident in the 2004 elections and clearer now.

As for inroads elsewhere . . . there were a few. Results were incomplete in some cases, though Democrats do appear to have won a smattering of other races.

We'll come back to all this.

ID results 1 – The sea remains the same

The polling was leaving Idaho Democrats breathless: That sea change they've been waiting for, for the last 14 years at least, seemed at hand, with polling that actually put several Democratic candidates for major office ahead of Republicans.

Now we have the actual votes, enough of them at least to tell that the sea has not changed.

At this writing, only about half of the precincts are in. (Canyon County, notoriously late in last May's primary, is late coming in again. And so Bannock, and some others.) But the vote distribution seems generally broad enough to draw some conclusions, starting with this: The two big races on which Democrats had pinned their highest hopes, for governor and for the 1st district U.S. House seat, appear to be going to the Republicans, C.L. "Butch" Otter and Bill Sali.

And that is true despite a long stirng of advantages that appeared to play to Democrats' favor: A terrible national atmosphere for Republicans (a very good night for Democrats nationally), big problems in the campaigns of the Republicans, campaigns by the Democrats that were played smartly, issues that played to the Democrats' advantage, and much more. But Republicans in Idaho have massive institutional advantages at this point, and a lot of people in the state simply cannot conceive of wanting to vote for a Democrat. And they didn't.

Nor (based on the most recent results) did they win the race for superintendent of public instruction, or for state controller, and in both cases they seemed to have some unusual advantages. In the latter, strong endorsements from industry groups and even Republicans like Frnak Vander Sloot of Idaho Falls; none of that matters, evidently, nearly as much as party identification.

There are specks of light for the Democrats. On the legislative front, they did make - as we suspected they would - substantial progress in the districts of the city of Boise, taking all three seats in the three most urban of the Boise legislative districts, and two of three seats in another (apparently - results were not yet final on that one). Boise seems en route to becoming a Democratic city, a trend evident in the 2004 elections and clearer now.

As for inroads elsewhere . . . there were a few. Results were incomplete in some cases, though Democrats do appear to have won a smattering of other races.

We'll come back to all this.

Tonight, tonight, tonight

In the three states of the Northwest, the magic - or witching - hour is 8 p.m. That's when the polls close and, soon after, numbers start to roll. (In Idaho, where most people are in Mountain Time, numbers usually do not much roll until
9 p.m. Mountain time, in consideration for the people up north whose voting deadline is an hour later.)

polling place image - Washington Secty State officeWe will, of course, be getting a sense of the national trends before that, since many eastern polls will be closing around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. Northwest time.

Expect that Oregon numbers will be among the first out; its vote counting procedures allow the count to begin on Tuesday well before the polls close. (And remember, only ballot in the hands of county officials by 8 p.m. today will count - in contrast to Washington, where a Tuesday postmark traditionally has sufficed.) Of some interest: With its new heavy reliance on mail voting, how early will be the Washington votes?

Of course, be sure to check back here: As per usual, we will be tracking results mostly on line. In between a short TV appearance and a stop at a political event, our regular stops this evening will include:

IDAHO

  • The Secretary of State' s office did a fine job of updating on primary election night; it's our top stop in the Gem State.
  • KTVB-TV traditionally has some of the best and fastest election night results in the state.
  • The Idaho Statesman will have information posted on its front page.
  • In eastern Idaho, try KIFI-TV.

OREGON

WASHINGTON

A VIEW FROM CONGRESS Also, this could be interesting: Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) says he plans to blog regularly during election night. Could be interesting to pull the take from his angle.

. . . this time, it’s personal

You hear the phrase on trailers for action movie sequels when it comes to battle scenes. Here's an instance where it applies to politics.

Comments from Idaho Senator Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, on lasy-gasp radio ad from Laird Maxwell's pro-Proposition 2 organization:

Once again, the promoters of Proposition Two have taken the low road in an effort to deceive voters. But this time it is personal.

I debated promoter Laird Maxwell on two different Idaho Falls radio stations for an hour each time regarding Proposition Two. Obviously, I was opposed to it and he was in favor. Now his group is taking quotes out of our debate and using them in their mail-outs and actually using my recorded voice on their radio ads to make it sound like I am in favor of Prop. 2. For instance, I said somethng to the effect that, “We are on the same page on this one. Proposition two should not affect existing planning and zoning ordinances.” I was referring to the fact that the proposition is not retroactive like the one in Oregon, but they are quoting it as if I were supporting the whole Proposition.

I have had a number of people call saying they heard the radio ads and were disappointed that I was supporting Prop. 2. You can imagine how angry this makes me. I trust people to be honest in presenting their positions and now I find that some cannot be trusted. It is disheartening to me.

I want to make it clear to my friends and constituents that I am against Proposition 2. I believe it would damage the vitality and economic health of Idaho. I have actively opposed Proposition 2 and urge you to do the same.

It should be personal, at well, to the people the ad was intended to deceive.

UPDATE A reply from Laird Maxwell:

For the record, Sen. Brent Hill was clearly identified as an OPPONENT of Prop. 2 in our radio ad.

Below is the script and attached is the radio ad.

Lastly, we sent out a bulk mail letter where we again quoted Sen. Hill and identified him as an opponent. Here is the excerpt of that letter:

Let's give credit to one politician who's opposed to Prop 2, but who admitted the truth on the air.

Last Tuesday on KZNR Radio in Blackfoot, state Sen. Brent Hill said: "I think that (Prop 2 supporters) and I are on the same page on this one. …This should not affect any planning, zoning, or other land use laws that are already in existence."

Senator Hill is right . By its own clear language, Prop 2 will not affect existing zoning laws. That includes, by the way, the current zoning laws that make it illegal to "turn any Idaho property, including farmlands, into junkyards, power plants, or high rises."

In other words, he confirms that that TV spot you've been seeing is a lie.

I know that Sen. Hill is a square shooter, unlike Nampa Mayor Tommy Dale. I have a deep respect for Sen. Hill and we were square with his quote by identifying him as an opponent. I also believe that by clearly identifying Sen. Hill as an opponent in made our point stronger, in contrast, that many of the other opponents, like Tommy Dale were lying.

What the vets say

Polling tells us that the conflict in Iraq is top of mind for Americans as they vote or prepare to. That suggests we might take a minute to peruse the congressional rankings of what may be its single most relevant private organization, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

They are self-described as "Founded in June 2004, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is the nation's first and largest group dedicated to the Troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the civilian supporters of those Troops and Veterans." And it says that "The IAVA Rating is based on this legislator's voting history on issues that affect US troops, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and military families."

Like other interest groups, they track legislation and congressional action, and also like many, they rate the members of Congress, in this case by letter grade. Here is how they rate the members of Congress from the Northwest.

office Idaho rating Oregon rating Washington rating
Senate Craig (R)
Crapo(R)
D-
D
Wyden (D)
Smith (R)
B+
C-
Murray (D)
Cantwell (D)
A-
A-
House Otter (R)
Simpson (R)
C
C
Wu (D)
Walden (R)
Blumenauer (D)
DeFazio (D)
Hooley (D)
B
C+
C+
B
A-
Inslee (D)
Larsen (D)
Baird (D)
Hastings (R)
McMorris (R)
Dicks (D)
McDermott (D)
Reichert (R)
Smith (D)
B+
A
B
C
D
A-
C-
D+
A-