When two professors, Washington University law professor and political science department Chair Andrew Martin and Colorado State University political scientist Kyle Saunders, analyzed every vote cast in the Idaho Legislature, they found no evidence that Democratic crossover voting in Idaho’s primary elections has resulted in the election of “Republicans in name only” who actually vote like Democrats. Instead, they found that all of Idaho’s GOP lawmakers voted more conservatively than the state’s Democratic lawmakers. The only very small overlap was in the House, where a couple of conservative Democrats overlapped the most liberal Republicans in voting records - chiefly Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd, D-Prichard, who voted more conservatively than two GOP House members in 2005-06 and than one, Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, in 2007-08.
Click here to see a chart showing the breakdown for House and Senate for the 2008-08 session. The Senate shows no overlap among Republican and Democratic members’ voting patterns at all; Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, whom the professors showed had the most liberal voting record of all GOP senators from 2003 to 2008, still voted more conservatively than every Democratic senator in every session. Schroeder was defeated in the GOP primary this year by a more conservative candidate, Gresham Dale Bouma.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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