All politics and election news

New Idaho GOP chairman seeks to heal party

Here’s a link to my Sunday story on how new Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates says his party has…

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Eye on Boise: Politics hinder wildfire funding bill

A year ago, Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, along with Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, gathered at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise to push the federal government to tap disaster funds when firefighting costs balloon above allocated amounts. Their goal is to stop cutting into fire-prevention and forest management programs that could prevent future fires. Their bipartisan legislation had been picking up support in both houses – Idaho GOP Rep. Mike Simpson is among the House sponsors, along with Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon – but paradoxically suffered a setback earlier this year after President Barack Obama not only endorsed it but included it in his budget. Read more

New Idaho GOP chairman seeks to heal party

BOISE – New Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates says his party has work to do to recover from its big split midway through an election campaign. After the party’s state convention in June failed to elect leaders amid a bitter intraparty divide, former Chairman Barry Peterson sued, claiming he still was chairman. A judge said no, prompting the Aug. 2 election of Yates. Read more

Activist Marlyn Derby tackled uphill battles, took on Foley

Democratic congressional candidate Joe Pakootas struggles from time to time with people mispronouncing his name. It’s not difficult when you learn the trick, that the two O’s in the middle sound like the single O at the end of “go,” not the double Os of “moon” or “book.” But Pakootas probably won’t have anywhere near the problem that previous congressional candidate Marlyn Derby had. Her name should have been easy to pronounce and spell, on its face. But she was regularly misidentified in print, on broadcasts and in introductions. Read more

Gun control measure backing from Seattle region

The vast majority of money supporting the initiative to expand background checks on guns comes from just 10 ZIP codes in the Seattle area, much of it from people with ties to the tech industry. An analysis of contributions reported to the state Public Disclosure Commission shows more than $2.8 million in contributions for Initiative 594 – or about 84 cents of every dollar contributed – comes from downtown Seattle, areas around Lake Washington and Shoreline. So far, the ballot measure to extend background checks from licensed dealers to most private sales has raised about $3.2 million, about three times more than the campaign for a counterproposal. Read more

Balukoff campaign airing second TV ad

BOISE – The newest TV ad to surface in Idaho’s gubernatorial campaign this year is a second one from Democrat A.J. Balukoff, themed around the historic Oregon Trail wagon ruts south of Boise. “It’s another good introduction piece, but it doesn’t seem to be much different from the first one,” said Jim Weatherby, professor emeritus of public policy at Boise State University. “He needs to get his name out there and continue to introduce himself, but I think we need to pretty soon hear some more from him in terms of what a Balukoff administration would look like and how different it might be from an Otter administration.” Read more

Gun initiatives: Where the money comes from

The vast majority of money supporting the initiative to expand background checks on guns comes from just 10 ZIP codes…

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AdWatch: Balukoff launches second TV campaign commercial

The newest TV ad to surface in Idaho’s gubernatorial campaign this year is a second one from Democrat A…

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Two divergent views on Idaho education…

The two major-party candidates for governor are offering “two divergent views on education” this week, reports Kevin Richert of Idaho…

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Tom Luna’s next job keeps him in education arena

BOISE – Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna will go to work for a national education nonprofit after he leaves office at the end of the year. Luna will be vice president of policy, advocacy and research for Project Lead the Way, a provider of science and math curriculum and teacher training to schools nationwide. Read more

Two write-in candidates make November ballot in Spokane County

Two write-in candidates on the Aug. 5 primary election ballot in Spokane County have qualified to have their names listed on the November ballot. The county’s election canvassing board certified the results on Tuesday. Read more

9th Circuit rejects Otter’s bid for initial en banc review in gay marriage case

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected, without comment, Gov. Butch Otter’s request for Idaho…

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Two-thirds of voters skipped primary

Less than one in three.

That's the final statewide turnout of voters for the Aug. 5 primary, which stands…

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New GOP Chair Yates: ‘We ought to be able to work out our differences’

New Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates has been starting from scratch at the Idaho GOP office, where the last remaining…

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McMorris Rodgers offers Pakootas three debates

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers challenged Democratic opponent Joe Pakootas on Monday to three debates this fall, including two in Spokane. Pakootas said he planned to counter with a proposal to do at least two more in other areas around the large 5th Congressional District. McMorris Rodgers has debated opponents at least once in her previous re-election campaigns, although scheduling has sometimes been a problem when Congress stayed in session late into the fall. Congressional candidates usually get far more invitations to debate than they accept, but this may be one of the earliest efforts by the five-term incumbent to nail down a debate schedule. Read more

Labrador on this summer’s GOP convention: ‘At least I tried to fix the problem’

Looking back on this summer’s tumultuous Idaho Republican Party convention, which he chaired, 1st District GOP Congressman Raul…

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Crapo says he’ll seek another term

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo says he will…

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Eye on Boise: Business group launches campaign against Balukoff

The race for governor lurched into high gear last week, as the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, a lobbying group that represents the state’s largest businesses, launched an independent campaign against A.J. Balukoff, the Democratic candidate for governor, including a website dubbed “” “A.J. Balukoff wants Idahoans to think he’s some kind of level-headed moderate,” said Alex LaBeau, IACI chief. He said his group will seek to counter that impression and tie Balukoff to Democratic President Barack Obama, drawing on everything from Balukoff’s voting record as a Boise school board member to his campaign website. Read more

Primary election results favor GOP gaining control of state Senate

OLYMPIA – Republicans are in the driver’s seat to control the Washington Senate in 2015 unless Democrats can improve their showing in a handful of races like Spokane’s 6th District contest between incumbent Sen. Mike Baumgartner and challenger Rich Cowan. Primary results from the Baumgartner-Cowan race aren’t as close as some other contests, but with relatively few competitive districts left after the 2011 redrawing of district boundaries, it’s likely to get the most attention of any Senate election in Eastern Washington. Read more

Balukoff asks IACI board to take down ‘appalling’ attack website

A.J. Balukoff, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, has sent a letter to the board of the Idaho Association…

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