Democrats are gathered at Papa Joe's in Boise tonight for their election-night watch party, which has more the feel of a crowded bar than an election event. The crowd is visiting happily, enjoying pizza and other food and drinks. Holli Woodings, the Democratic candidate for Idaho Secretary of State, arrived with a big smile; she's unopposed in today's primary.
The crowd broke into cheers when its candidate for governor, A.J. Balukoff, arrived at 8:30. In early results, Balukoff is defeating his primary challenger, Terry Kerr of Idaho Falls, 72 percent to 28 percent. That's with 89 of 942 precincts reporting. A buoyant Balukoff said he thinks he could win against either of the leading Republican candidates, incumbent Butch Otter or primary challenger Russ Fulcher. “I think the state is ready for a change in direction, a change in leadership,” Balukoff said. The early results show Otter leading Fulcher 54.5 to 41.3.
Also present and celebrating was Nels Mitchell, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by GOP Sen. Jim Risch. Early results showed Mitchell with 73.1 of the vote over his Democratic primary challenger, Brooklyn, N.Y. attorney William Bryk, who had 26.9 percent.