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1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador and Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris faced off in a lively debate tonight on Idaho Public Television. Among the highlights: Labrador called for raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70 and cutting a third of the staff at the Pentagon; and said he backs banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother. Farris opposed raising the retirement age and instead called for raising the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security; and agreed with Labrador that cuts in defense spending could reduce waste. Labrador said, “The first decision I made in Congress was to actually listen to Walt Minnick,” his Democratic predecessor, who urged him to hire his constituent services chief. “She has been the best decision I made as a congressman,” Labrador said.
I'll have a full report tomorrow. For more on the Idaho Debates, click here.
Remember when voters were concerned that irresponsible youth would decide important matters at the ballot box after the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 way back when? Well, young adults have little or no impact on the Idaho voting scene, particularly in North Idaho. Idaho AARP reports that statewide 65% of the votes in the 2010 elections were cast by voters 50 and older. Legislative Districts 2 (southern Bonner, Shoshone, Benewah, & Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation) & 8 led the way for the Geritol group with 77% of the votes coming from those 50+. The rest of North Idaho wasn't far behind: District 1 (Boundary & northern Bonner), 74%; District 3 (northern Kootenai) 71%, District 4 (Coeur d'Alene), 68%; and District 5 (Post Falls area), 68%. Full story here.
Question: What do you make of the 50+ crowd dominating Idaho voting?
Compare the map of voters above with the maps below of the way votes stacked up in key races.
Statistics may be for losers, as Scotty Bowman once said. But losers who don’t pay attention to statistics may be destined to keep losing.
So it might be wise for Spokane County Democrats to consider statistics from last month’s election that show they lost the courthouse essentially because they did poorly in areas that voted well.
Well, duh, you might say. People generally lose by not getting enough votes. But it’s the way most Democratic candidates didn’t get enough votes that should have them rethinking their strategies and suggest Republicans could settle comfortably into the “castle” on the north side of the Spokane River as well as expect to hold most of the county’s legislative seats and Eastern Washington’s congressional seat.
OLYMPIA — Turnout for the 2010 mid-term election will be about 71.18 percent of the state’s registered voters, the Secretary of State’s office said today.
That’s shy of the record in 1970, which was 71.8 percent, but higher than anything since, and better than the second best modern mid-term turnout of 1958, which was 71.15 percent.
It’s also better than 2006, which was 64.55 percent, and 2002, a measly 56.35 percent, and better than Secretary of State Sam Reed’s prediction of 66 percent. Elections officials, however, are never unhappy when their turnout predictions turn out to be low.
In all, about 2.6 million ballots were cast.
There will be mandatory recounts in three close legislative races, but not in the state Supreme Court race in which challenger Charlie Wiggins topped incumbent Richard Sanders.
Spokane County turnout is at 71.29 percent right now, but could go up a one-hundedth of a percent or two after the canvassing board meets at 12:30 this afternoon. No recounts in Spokane County — and essentially no changes from election night.
OLYMPIA — Remember all those polls in the U.S. Senate race that were all over the place in the last week of the election?
Democrat Patty Murray was up by 4. No, Republican Dino Rossi was up by 3. No, they’re tied.
Turns out the most accurate poll in the race, according to Matt Barreto of the Washington Poll was…
The Washington Poll.
Barreto compared 11 polls released within a week of the election in the Murray-Rossi race, which right now is separated by about 4.42 percentage points.
The WashPoll of Registered Voters, released Oct. 28, had Murray up 4 points.
Depending on the remaining ballots, YouGov might lay claim on the best call. It’s Oct. 30 poll of registered voters had Murray up 5 points, and her margin might grow because so many of the remaining ballots are from King County.
Other comparisons can be found inside the blog.
OLYMPIA — Ballot counting continues, if somewhat sporadically, around the state and the margin in the Supreme Court race grew slightly Monday.
Challenger Charlie Wiggins has 955,298 votes compare to incumbent Richard Sanders’ 947,618.
As previously reported, Wiggins lead is mathematically secure, even though there are about 76,000 ballots yet to be counted. That’s because more than half — an estimated 40,000 — are in King County, where Wiggins has been leading Sanders throughout the counting. Sanders hasn’t officially conceded, but he has sent an e-mail to supporters acknowledging that the race appears over.
In other close election news, Republican challenger has a 28 vote lead over Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell in Pierce County’s 25th District, a race where the lead has changed hands several times in the last week.
Washington state Democrats want the Public Disclosure Commission to go after a group that spent money against some of their legislative candidates but hasn’t revealed where the money comes from.
They filed a complaint today against Americans For Prosperity Washington, an offshoot of the national Americans For Prosperity, for campaign ads against Sens. Tracie Eide, Rodney Tom, Eric Oemig and Randy Gordon. The group has yet to file any contribution or spending reports or registration forms with the Public Disclosure Commission.
“This organization is purposely concealing who they are and who their funders are,” state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz said. “In effect, these efforts amount to creating a secret political organization spending hudreds of thousands of dollars attempting to influence our elections and mislead the voting public.”
The state is currently investigation possible sanctions against Democratic consultants for filing misleading reports that hid the source of funding for candidates in a primary that helped knock out a Democratic incumbent that labor unions opposed, Pelz said. It also should go after a group like AFPWA for filing no reports.
In a new opinion piece today, Gov. Butch Otter says he’s “read all the postmortems and punditry about the ‘meaning’ of the November 2nd election results,” and declares, “I believe most of it is well-intentioned, although there certainly is a fair amount of cynicism, condescension and sour grapes involved. And yes, there has been a little chest thumping too. None of it is warranted.”
Otter says, “The truth is that each of us from our own perspective – regardless of our political affiliation – are doing our level best to make Idaho a better place for our children and grandchildren than it is today. We agree on more than we disagree, and we mutually embrace more values than divide us.” Click below to read his full op-ed article.
An analysis of voting patterns suggests Wiggins will finish ahead of Sanders and take his place on the state’s highest court when all remaining ballots are counted.
Sanders, an outspoken jurist with libertarian leanings, was first elected to the state’s highest court in 1995 and re-elected twice since. He has held a narrow lead since the Election Night.
But he has consistently trailed in King County, which has about one-third of the state’s voters, and a handful of other counties, mostly west of the Cascades. On Tuesday, King County tabulated about 45,000 of its outstanding ballots, and Wiggins inched ahead. Thirteen other counties also added to their totals, but Wiggins ended the night with a lead of about 3,600 votes.
Challenger Charlie Wiggins has taken the lead of about 3,500 votes over Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders on the strength of King County ballots tabulated at 4:30 p.m. Pierce and several other counties, where Sanders has been ahead since election night, are scheduled to report at 5 p.m. or slightly later.
OLYMPIA — With challenger Charlie Wiggins closing the gap on Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders— and some media outlets predicting Wiggins will win the race — Sanders’ campaign sent out a plea to supporters for money for a possible recount.
“Don’t let Wiggins steal this election” is the subject line of the e-mail asking for money for a fund “to get all the ballots counted.” It notes there are some 17,000 ballots that need to have voters clear up questions with signatures.
If the phrase “The Don’t Let –- Steal This Election” sounds familiar, maybe it’s because the Building Industry Association of Washington used it on billboards in 2008 to generate support in Eastern Washington for Dino Rossi’s second gubernatorial run. Back then, the alleged thief was Seattle.
It’s pretty much the same sentiment, because Wiggins has nothing to do with counting ballots or validating signatures. If he wins, it will be on the strength of heavy turnout in King County, particularly the city of Seattle, where Sanders came under fire for comments some considered racist regarding the proportion of African Americans in prison compared to their representation in the state as a whole. After those comments he was “unendorsed” by the Seattle Times about a week before the election.
Trying to buy an election by self-financing a campaign is a bad investment, a study from the Center for Responsive Politics says.
Only about one in five candidates who poured a half-million dollars or more into their own campaigns came out a winner last week. If they spent more than $3.5 million, the odds got worse, to one in seven. Some spent seven figures and ended up with zip.
California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who spent $141.5 million of her own money and lost to Jerry Brown.
Linda McMahon, who poured $46.6 million on a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut. It should be noted that her opponent, Richard Blumenthal, spent $2.2 million of his own money into the race.
Carly Fiorino, who spent $5.5 million of her money in a run against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Jeff Greene, who spent $24 million of his money and lost Florida’s Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat to Kendrick Meek, who in turn finished third in the Senate race last week.
With the 2010 election all over but the counting – admittedly the counting still is important in a few races – it seems appropriate to look back over the campaign.
It was an avalanche of nasty ads, debates over debates commercials and visits from out-of-state big shots played out against a backdrop of voters worried about their next paycheck, house payment or bag of groceries. And that’s looking at things as an optimist. Maybe the best that can be said about it is, it’s over. But before it fades from memory, here are some of the highlights and lowlifes of the Campaign 2010.
Get me Don Draper. In trying to explain why health care reform and other Democratic initiatives weren’t more popular, President Obama suggested during a backyard gathering in Seattle that “We had to move so fast… We didn’t always think about making sure we were advertising properly what was going on.” Like the crew from “Mad Men” could have quelled the Tea Party revolt.
Stretching too far. Patty Murray campaign staff was practically gleeful when Republican challenger Dino Rossi mishandled a poorly asked question about trade subsidies in a Tacoma editorial board session and seemed not to know much about sanctions involving a new Air Force tanker. But then they over-spun it for a commercial that made Rossi sound like he’d have tankers built in France, prompting news organizations to castigate her campaign and giving fodder to his campaign for – you guessed it – an attack ad of their own.
He doth protest too much. Asked how his first debate with Murray went, Rossi seemed unhappy that too many questions were “regional” and rather than national in scope. Some were about the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and dams, but others were about the economy, cutting the deficit, the war in Afghanistan and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Rossi said he’d expected a question about bailouts – perhaps because that was one of his key talking points.
Silly meme. To counter Rossi’s charge that Murray was an 18-year incumbent, the Murray campaign called him “an 18-year candidate.” Catchy, but not true. Was Murray a candidate when she was in office, too?
In need of a farm team. Eastern Washington Democrats picked a candidate for Congress who finished third in the primary. OK, so Daryl Romeyn, the Democratic winner, is well-known from stints as a weatherman on Spokane television. But hand-picked candidate Clyde Cordero finished behind Barbara Lampert, a perennial candidate who’s run for different jobs for a dozen years. At least Cordero beat David Fox, who moved from Port Angeles to Spokane after filing for at the last minute, then lived out of his car, got assaulted for propositioning a man for sex in downtown and got a reputation for skipping out on bills at local eateries.
Most likely to resurface. Clint Didier came off his Eltopia farm, got Tea Party backing and Sarah Palin’s endorsement for his run for Senate before finishing third behind Rossi. He may have overplayed his hand by conditioning an endorsement for Rossi on demands over taxes, spending and abortion, but he did well enough to be back in the mix in 2012 if he wants.
Who wants to be a millionaire? Spokane has the distinction – dubious as it is – of being home to the state’s first million-dollar legislative campaign. The 6th District Senate race often tops spending in years when the seat is on the ballot, but if the candidates, parties and their allies will spend a million dollars fighting over a job that pays $42,000, it’s little wonder the state has budget problems.
Sinking deep. The 6th also produced one of the nastiest ads, an independent group that accused Marr of sexual harassment at his old company, something the victim of the harassment said wasn’t true. But what do you expect from a group calling itself Spokane Families for Change, a shadow PAC that consisted of no families and no one from Spokane?
Coming out of nowhere. At the end of filing week, Spokane County Treasurer Skip Chilberg appeared a lock for re-election. He was the only one who filed for the job. In August, Libertarian-turned-Republican Rob Chase filed as a write-in, got enough votes in the primary to qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot, and appears to have won the seat. Prior to that, Chase had run – the traditional way – for the Legislature and Congress without success.
Item: Ysursa to tackle absentee ballot rules: Hoffman, Spencer fought ballot opening before Election Day/Jay Patrick, Idaho Reporter
More Info: This time around, Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, took note and petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court on Nov. 1 to put a halt to ballot opening and to have justices declare that the action violated state statute 34-1008 governing the handling of absentee ballots. The code reads, in part, “The ballot envelope shall not be opened until the ballots are counted.” Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann dismissed Hoffman’s complaint, saying the court handled appeals of lower court rulings and could not consider it. Larry Spencer, a designated GOP poll watcher in Bonner County, also tried to stop the pre-election day opening with a petition to the district court there — the complaint was dismissed.
Question: Should the law be change to unequivocably allow early opening of absentee ballots?
Spokane County tallied 11,111 move ballots Friday from the Nov. 2 election. An unusual looking number that didn’t create any unusual twists in the standings.
Republican challenger Al French leads Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager by about 1,100 votes.
Republican challenger Rob Chase leads Democratic County Treasurer Skip Chilberg by about 1,000 votes.
Former State Rep. John Ahern, a Republican, leads Rep. John Driscoll, a Democrat, by about 1,500 votes.
After Republican Dino Rossi conceded the race to Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday night, the one remaining statewide race yet to be decided is a state Supreme Court seat.
Incumbent Justice Richard Sanders currently leads former Appeals Court Judge Charlie Wiggins by just under 10,000 votes out of nearly 1.6 million counted so far.
OLYMPIA — Turnout for last Tuesday’s election is higher than expected and may set a record for a mid-year election, Secretary of State Sam Reed said today.
State elections officials were projecting a turnout of 66 percent for the mid-term, but are now revising that upwards to 70 percent or more. Both political parties had massive get out the vote efforts, both when ballots first arrived in mailboxes in mid October and again in the closing days of the campaign.
Coupled with a hot Senate race, some controversial tax and government limitation issues on the ballot and competitive congressional and legislative races around the state, turnout is pushing up toward the record for a mid-term set in 1970 of 71.85 percent.