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Eye On Boise

Archive for November 2004

It was that close

You might have thought the elections were over in Idaho, but in one Boise-area legislative race, the result’s been in question all this time. First-term Rep. Kathie Garrett, R-Boise, initially beat Democratic challenger Sean Spence by just nine votes, a super-thin margin that led to a recount.

Now, the recount’s done, and the final results are in: Garrett still wins by nine votes, out of a total of roughly 15,000 cast.

Al Lance finally confirmed

A year after he was nominated, former Idaho Attorney General Al Lance has, at long last, been confirmed by the Senate for an appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Lance, who served two terms as attorney general, left office two years ago for the judgeship rather than seek a third term, and the appointment’s been in the works ever since. President Bush nominated him for the post on Nov. 20, 2003.

Lance is a former national commander of the American Legion and a former state legislator.

In a joint news release, Idaho’s all-GOP congressional delegation said Lance’s nomination “had been languishing because of objections from Democrats.”

Lance is a Republican.

Turkey for the troops

What will you be doing for Thanksgiving? Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will be serving up turkey to Idaho National Guard troops in Louisiana, where they’re preparing to begin deploying to Iraq the day after the holiday.

To give the troops a proper send-off, Kempthorne also has arranged for famed Idaho band Paul Revere and the Raiders to come to Louisiana and play a concert for the guard members, along with vocalist Nancy Roche.

Boise disappears

It usually doesn’t happen until December – and some years not much at all – but Boise’s inversion is back. For the past few days, the Boise valley has been shrouded under a thick, grayish fog, held in under an inversion that’s trapped cold, damp, polluted air in the valley below while mountains above preen under 60-degree weather and sunshine.

Right now, it’s in the mid-30s in Boise, while up above town at Bogus Basin Ski Resort, it’s 50 degrees, a few light clouds are floating around and a thin layer of snow is sparkling in slanting sunlight. (See a picture from Bogus.)

Boise’s winter inversions usually happen later, when valley residents can escape to the mountain to ski and breathe fresh air. Right now, there’s not enough snow in the mountains for that – and it’s too warm. Burrr.

Forecasters say Boise will stay under the fog, with some relief when it lifts a bit in the afternoons, until a new weather system breaks up the inversion next weekend.

Changes, but small ones

As the dust settles from a busy election night, it appears that Idaho Democrats have lost three seats in the state House, dropping from 16 to 13 seats there, but kept even with seven seats in the state Senate.

There could still be recounts in some close races, but by the unofficial results, here’s the tally:

In the House, five-term Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone, lost to Democratic challenger Donna Pence. That’s in District 25, which includes heavily Democratic Blaine County. But that pickup for the Democrats was offset by four losses, for a net loss of three seats.

The four: First-term Rep. Allen Andersen, D-Pocatello, lost to GOP challenger Ken Andrus in District 29. Coeur d’Alene city attorney Mike Gridley lost his bid to take over former Democratic Rep. Bonnie Douglas’ House seat in District 4 after beating her in the primary; he lost to GOP activist Marge Chadderdon. Seven-term Rep. Chuck Cuddy, D-Orofino, lost to his Republican challenger in District 8, Paul Shepherd. And former Silver Valley Democratic legislator Gino White fell to Republican Jana Kemp in a close-fought contest in Boise’s District 16, where former Democratic Rep. David Langhorst left his seat to run for the Senate.

In the Senate, Langhorst won, taking over a formerly Republican seat held by the retiring GOP Sen. Cecil Ingram. And Democrat Kate Kelly defeated Republican Dave Baumann to take over former GOP Sen. Sheila Sorensen’s old Senate seat in District 18. But Sen. Marti Calabretta, D-Osburn, lost to GOP challenger Joyce Broadsword in District 2, and the seat held by retiring Sen. Fred Kennedy, D-Mountain Home, went to Republican Tim Corder in District 22. That leaves the party split in the state Senate right where it was before – 28 Republicans, 7 Democrats.

Other threatened upsets didn’t materialize. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, won by almost 2,000 votes over challenger Earl Bennett. Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, easily fought off a challenge from Rep. Mike Naccarato, D-Lewiston. Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, beat his challenger, St. Maries Democrat George Currier, by more than 2,000 votes, and Sen. Bert Marley, D-McCammon, held off a challenge from former Sen. Evan Frasure, R-Pocatello.

President Bush swept Idaho, with just one of 44 counties – Blaine – favoring Sen. John Kerry over the president. Blaine County, which is heavily Democratic, is where Kerry has an Idaho home. Even Latah County favored Bush, by a 256-vote margin. Overall, Bush took 68 percent of Idaho’s votes to Kerry’s 30 percent. But Kerry’s tally was a small improvement over Democrat Al Gore’s four years ago, when Gore got just 27.6 percent in Idaho.

Tie a yellow ribbon

For the last several weeks, what appear to be giant yellow ribbons have been tied in cheery bows around the four large columns at the front of the state Capitol. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said he had them put up “for the 116th,” the Idaho National Guard unit that’s in final training now for deployment to Iraq. “We’ll keep ‘em up through their actual departure, and then we will probably bring them down just because of weather considerations, but put them back up for special occasions,” the governor said.

He was inspired by a drive to get folks to put yellow ribbon symbols on their cars and homes to support the troops. “I just thought the people’s house ought to put the ribbons up too,” he said. “I think it’s meant a lot. I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback from a lot of families of troops.”

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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