The ballot looks very different in North Idaho's most-Republican legislative district this fall, now that tax-protesting four-term Rep. Phil Hart is out and an array of new candidates are jostling for attention. Democrats are challenging Republicans for all three of District 2's seats this fall - the first time a Democrat has appeared on the ballot there since 2002. The last time one won was in 1994.
Cheryl Stransky is among the new crop of candidates. A just-retired high school counselor who's been active in the community for 35 years, she has a quote from her opponent, first-term Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, emblazoned on her campaign website: “If I wanted a reasonable Republican, I'd vote for a Democrat.” “I feel like I am almost a polar opposite of my opponent,” said Stransky, who says the district's lawmakers have gone too far and crossed a “tipping point.” Says the Democratic challenger, “I sense that people are ready for a reasoned representative.”
Barbieri acknowledges he made the comment to a gathering of the United Conservatives of North Idaho last December. “It got a good laugh - it was a joke,” Barbieri said. But he said he stands by the sentiment. “The bottom line is … since I'm conservative, it's my position that compromise has gotten the United States in the situation that it's in,” Barbieri said. “To be reasonable is to compromise, and to compromise in these days with taxpayers overburdened like they are - it's time for someone to take a stand and not be making all these compromises.” You can read my full story here from today's Spokesman-Review.