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Idaho Politics

Political and legislative news out of Idaho.

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Labrador: Ward/Obama video mashup was ‘just the icing on the cake’

1st District GOP congressional nominee Raul Labrador, asked by Eye on Boise about the impact of the video mash-up of speeches by opponent Vaughn Ward and Barack Obama that circulated widely online for the last few days before the election and was featured on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on election night, said, “I think it was just the icing on the cake, I don’t think that it made the difference.” Labrador noted that the earliest results that came in, which consisted of absentee votes from Ada and Canyon counties that could have been cast weeks ago, showed him ahead./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Also:
Ward: ‘I learned a great deal from this experience’
Labrador: Ward has served honorably
Otter at GOP unity rally: ‘Now we are one team’

Labrador: Video mashup was ‘just the icing on the cake’

1st District GOP congressional nominee Raul Labrador, asked by Eye on Boise about the impact of the video mash-up of speeches by opponent Vaughn Ward and Barack Obama that circulated widely online for the last few days before the election and was featured on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on election night, said, “I think it was just the icing on the cake, I don’t think that it made the difference.” Labrador noted that the earliest results that came in, which consisted of absentee votes from Ada and Canyon counties that could have been cast weeks ago, showed him ahead.

Asked how he’ll campaign now, Labrador said, “I’m going to do the same thing I’ve always done, I’m going to tell people what my message is.” He did say, though, that he’ll need to raise a lot more money. “I think I’ve been able to show them that I can win with little money, so I think people are going to be excited to donate.”

Ward: ‘I learned a great deal from this experience’

Candidate Vaughn Ward had this to say today about his unsuccessful run for the 1st Congressional District seat: “I’m very proud of everything that happened with this race, the campaign, the people that were part of this race, the volunteers we’ve had throughout this entire time. We started 15 months ago when nobody gave me a chance and we couldn’t talk to anybody other than Idahoans that believed in us and we took a message forward to them, and they got excited about it and we built a great campaign. And I’m just proud of all the work we put into it.”

Asked about the widely circulated video mash-up - featured last night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno - that spliced together phrases from one of his speeches with similar turns of phrase in a 2004 speech by then-Sen. Barack Obama, Ward said, “I don’t care what the national press says. … I think we were on Chris Matthews as well, Hardball. I realize that some of the mainstream media out there, they have an agenda and I’m fine with that. But again, I’m proud of this race, I’m proud of what the many volunteers gave to this race, and I learned a great deal from this experience, and I’m just proud to be a part of another level of service that I’ve given to my country.”

Ward told Eye on Boise, “You know, I think things unfold differently than you hope they would. … Did I learn stuff? Of course I did. Were there mistakes made? Yes, there were, and I own the responsibility for everything. You hire people and you hope that they do a good job for you, and when they don’t, you make those corrections, but I’m not the first one to have had staff that didn’t perform as expected, and I don’t blame anybody, I blame myself.” Ward said earlier that he wrote his own speech, but a staffer added things to it, including the turns of phrase that echoed Obama’s words; his campaign manager resigned after The Spokesman-Review reported that half the position statements on his website were copied from the sites of other candidates or congressmen.

Asked why he pointed to the “mainstream media” with regard to the video mash-up when it was created by a conservative activist Lucas Baumbach, who’s also a GOP legislative candidate in Idaho and a Labrador supporter, Ward said, “I don’t know who put it together … it doesn’t matter, it’s beyond us now, we’ve moved on.” He added, “It’s a chess game, politics is, and I think there were other elements afoot. And at this point, today’s May 26th, it’s not May 25th.” When Eye on Boise asked what he thinks of this chess game and whether he’d ever like to play it again, Ward said, “We’ll see.”

For now, he said, his future plans involve a camping trip with his family in North Idaho.

Labrador: Ward has served honorably

Raul Labrador, the victor in the 1st Congressional District GOP primary last night, had this to say about his opponent Vaughn Ward at the GOP rally today: “Yesterday we were divided as a party, we were divided supporting different candidates. But today we are all Republicans. I want to thank and honor my opponent in this race. Mr Vaughn Ward has served our country honorably. He has sacrificed his time, his talents for this nation, and I think each and every one of us owes him a debt of gratitude for the service that he has given.”

Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko said after the rally, “I was so pleased last night - early this morning - to see Vaughn call Raul early.” That allowed Labrador to claim his victory and thank supporters before the wee hours of the morning; the final votes weren’t counted statewide until about 5 a.m. today, when Latah County’s results were finalized.

Otter at GOP ‘unity’ rally: ‘Now we are one team’

Idaho Republicans gathered on the Statehouse steps for their traditional “unity” rally after yesterday’s primary election, including the turbulent 1st District congressional race. Here, the candidates, including Vaughn Ward, top right, listen to Gov. Butch Otter, who said, “Obviously our party had all the action.” Otter said, “I want to thank all of the opponents. … Now we are one team.”

Primary brings changes to Legislature

Here’s a link to the final, unofficial statewide results from the Secretary of State. Of interest: Six legislative incumbents lost to their challengers in the GOP primary: Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake; Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade; Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa; Rep. Rich Jarvis, R-Meridian, who lost to the man he replaced, former Rep. John Vander Woude; Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls; and longtime Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, the chairman of the Senate Resources Committee who was defeated by Tea Party candidate Gresham Dale Bouma./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Labrador looks forward to November after upset victory in 1st CD GOP primary

State Rep. Raul Labrador issued this statement this morning after his upset victory late last night in the GOP primary for the 1st CD. Unofficial final results show Labrador winning with 47.6 percent of the vote to 38.9 percent for Vaughn Ward. “I’ve received a call of congratulations from Mr. Ward, and I appreciate his graciousness,” Labrador said. “I want to acknowledge his service to this nation and his hard work as a candidate.”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Question: Why’d he win? And why did Ward win in Kootenai County?

Six sitting lawmakers lose in primary

Here’s a link to the final, unofficial statewide results from the Secretary of State for yesterday’s primary election. Of interest: Six legislative incumbents lost to their challengers in the GOP primary: Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake; Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade; Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa; Rep. Rich Jarvis, R-Meridian, who lost to the man he replaced, former Rep. John Vander Woude; Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls; and longtime Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, the chairman of the Senate Resources Committee who was defeated by Tea Party candidate Gresham Dale Bouma.

Vito Barbieri won the open seat in District 3 created by the retirement of Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake; Barbieri was recruited to run by District 3 Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol; no Democrat has filed for the seat. Reed DeMordaunt won a three-way GOP primary for Raul Labrador’s former seat in Eagle and will face Democrat Steve Berch in November; former Rep. Julie Ellsworth won the GOP primary for Branden Durst’s former District 18 House seat and will face Democrat Janie Ward-Engelking in November; Cherie Buckner-Webb easily won the Democratic primary for the District 19 House seat being vacated by Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart’s retirement, and will face Republican Jim Morland in the fall; and Linden Bateman defeated Dane Watkins by a 2-1 margin in the GOP primary for Rep. Russ Mathews’ former House seat; Bateman will face Democrat John McGimpsey in November.

Also, Sen. Shirley McKague held her seat against a challenge from Mike Vuittonet, chairman of the Meridian School Board - McKague got 60 percent to Vuittonet’s 39.9 percent - and Michelle Stennett took a whopping 87.4 percent of the vote in her race against two others in the Democratic primary for her husband Clint Stennett’s former Senate seat; she’ll face Republican Jim Donoval in November.

Labrador looks forward to Nov. after upset victory in GOP primary

State Rep. Raul Labrador issued this statement this morning after his upset victory late last night in the GOP primary for the 1st CD. Unofficial final results show Labrador winning with 47.6 percent of the vote to 38.9 percent for Vaughn Ward. “I’ve received a call of congratulations from Mr. Ward, and I appreciate his graciousness,” Labrador said. “I want to acknowledge his service to this nation and his hard work as a candidate.”

Looking ahead to the general election, when Labrador will face freshman Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick, Labrador said, “I view Mr. Minnick as an honorable man. … We disagree on a host of issues, but I am committed to having a vigorous debate and running an honorable campaign focused on what is best for America and Idaho” He said the “people of Idaho deserve that kind of debate.” Labrador also said he looks forward to joining the traditional Republican unity press conference at noon today “with Sen. Mike Crapo, Governor Butch Otter, Congressman Mike Simpson and the rest of the Republican statewide ticket.” Labrador has clashed with Otter, particularly over Labrador’s successful efforts to kill Otter’s proposed gas tax increase in House two years ago, but Otter said last night that he’d support the GOP primary winner, whoever it was.

AP: Labrador wins 1st CD GOP primary

The Associated Press has called the 1st District congressional race - well after midnight Boise time - and declared Raul Labrador the winner. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Labrador led with 46 percent, to 40 percent for rival Vaughn Ward.

Semanko: Low turnout a disappointment

Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko says his party will come together no matter which candidate wins the hard-fought congressional primary between Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward; the latest results, with 89 percent of precincts reporting, show Labrador with 46 percent to 40 percent for Ward. “It’s been interesting, here you had one person (Ward) who got in very early, several people who got in in the middle period, and one person (Labrador), very late,” Semanko said. “I don’t think there’s a right way to do it.”

He said his one disappointment about the primary is the low turnout: “There’s so much attention and so much focus, and yet the turnout is so low.”

Otter: ‘Lead nation out of recession’

Gov. Butch Otter was very much in evidence throughout the evening at the GOP election night gathering tonight, as both he and First Lady Lori Otter celebrated with supporters, posed for pictures and more. When he took the podium to accept his party’s nomination, he acknowledged “some tough calls” during his term. “Miss Lori and I and our family are grateful once again for your vote of confidence,” Otter said. “We do know that we’ve got a lot of work to go forward, but I want to tell you that this party has stood tall in the past four sessions of the Legislature … to provide the leadership to this state. … Because of the heavy lifting that we’ve had to do, and we did it alone, the state Legislature and myself have set this state on a course so that when we come out of this recession, Idaho is going to lead us out of this recession, we’re going to lead this nation out of the recession.”

Allred chooses working party for primary night

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred held a different kind of election-night gathering tonight - he and volunteers gathered at his campaign headquarters, where they stuffed envelopes, fielded calls and worked on a mailing and other projects. Longtime Democratic activist Betty Richardson said it was the first working party for election night she could recall.

“I’m grateful for the support from Idahoans in today’s primary,” Allred said in a statement. “Now, I invite Idahoans of all political stripes to join me in the months ahead. I’m committed to working harder than ever to make Idaho’s government work for all of us.  Idahoans’ interests must come ahead of special interests and partisan politics. Idahoans want their schools properly funded and they want their governor to have a plan for boosting Idaho’s economy and creating new jobs. I’m excited to work with Idahoans to find practical solutions that work for everyone.”

Ullman: ‘An incredible experience’

With 509 of 936 precincts reporting, Gov. Butch Otter, who’s already been declared the winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary, had 55 percent. Here’s how his five challengers did: Rex Rammell, 25.2 percent; Sharon Ullman, 8 percent; Ron “Pete” Peterson, 5.7 percent; and both Walt Bayes and Tamara Wells, 3.1 percent. Ullman, an Ada County commissioner, shown here, said, “It’s been an incredible experience. We’ve met wonderful people around the state, had fabulous support from the people I’ve spoken with. I learned a great deal.”

1st District race down to the wire…

The contentious race for the GOP nomination for North Idaho’s seat in Congress is going down to the wire tonight, as Idaho voters held a typically low-turnout primary election with big consequences; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com. Up and down the ticket, the election set the stage for major contests in November, while writing the final chapter in other races, including a contested non-partisan race for the Idaho Supreme Court. In that contest, Justice Roger Burdick defeated his challenger, 2nd District Judge John Bradbury; the Associated Press has just called that race.

The 1st District congressional race saw Vaughn Ward and Raul Labrador vying for the chance to challenge freshman 1st District Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick in November; Minnick, who was unopposed in the primary, is launching his re-election campaign with a series of appearances around the district over the next week. In early results, Labrador led Ward, 44 percent to 42 percent, setting the stage for a possible come-from-behind victory despite Ward’s large fundraising lead and early start.

Jay Leno mocks Ward in monologue

On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight, Leno played the entire video mashup that juxtaposes clips of Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic national convention speech with similar turns of phrase in a speech by Idaho GOP congressional candidate Vaughn Ward at the Idaho state capitol this spring, a mashup put together by Idaho GOP legislative candidate Lucas Baumbach. Leno’s kicker: “When they asked this guy if he thought he could get away with this, he said, ‘Yes I can! Yes I can!’”

Ward arrives at GOP gathering

Congressional candidate Vaughn Ward has finally arrived at the GOP headquarters gathering, just after 10:30 Boise time. The latest results, with just 22 percent of the vote counted, show Labrador leading Ward, 44 percent to 42 percent. At this point, this race is too close to call.

Allred, Little win primaries

The Associated Press has now declared Keith Allred the winner of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, defeating Lee Chaney Sr., and Lt. Gov. Brad Little victorious in the GOP primary, defeating two challengers.

No sign of Ward so far…

While GOP candidates including congressional hopeful Raul Labrador, Gov. Butch Otter, state Treasurer Ron Crane, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Controller Donna Jones, gubernatorial hopeful Rex Rammell, and even former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig have been mingling with the crowd at the GOP election-night headquarters at the Doubletree Riverside in Boise, there’s been no sign as yet of 1st District hopeful Vaughn Ward, a notable absence.

First election results: AP calls primary for Crapo

The first few election results are in, and the Associated Press has called the U.S. Senate GOP primary in favor of the incumbent, Sen. Mike Crapo, who had about 80 percent of the vote over Claude “Skip” Davis in early results. Ada County also has released its first batch of absentee voting results; they show incumbent Idaho Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick leading 2nd District Judge John Bradbury, 3,708 to 2,033.