April 9, 1996 in Idaho

Democrats In Short Supply

By The Spokesman-Review

You needn’t look further than the May primaries to see Idaho Democrats are in deep trouble still. While Republican primaries are teeming with candidates, Democrats are scrambling to fill slots in a swing county like Kootenai. The D’s, for example, produced only a political unknown with an unlisted phone number for two Kootenai County commissioner slots. Credible candidates are needed in all races to foster debate - though it’s hard to blame Democrats still shell-shocked by the ‘94 Republican tidal wave. Things are going so badly for Idaho D’s that Republicans like Gov. Phil Batt and House Speaker Mike Simpson feel sorry for them - but not sorry enough to hand over any seats. The Democrats say the anti-incumbency mood did them in during 1994, not their message. But the single-issue tendency of many grass-roots Democrats makes you wonder if they’re as much in tune with conservative Idaho as they think.

Rankin, Knowles coming in from cold?

Do you suppose Ron Rankin and Lee Knowles have returned to the Republican fold after years of wandering as independents? For years, the two sidekicks and other members of the Kootenai County Property Owners Association spoiled bids by moderate Republicans by running as independents in three-way races. Now, they’re both listed as Republican candidates for Kootenai County courthouse seats, though both have primary opposition. Don’t look for party regulars to let bygones be bygones. Elephants never forget.

Needed: John Hancocks, backbone

Hmmm. It seemed like a simple thing to get an initiative banning hydroplane racing from Lake Coeur d’Alene on the spring primary ballot. But a lot of steam left a prospective petition drive for 3,200 signatures when Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce officials dropped the matter in January. Now, the public’s notoriously poor memory - and probably the fear of retribution in this company town - has come into play. Many won’t sign petitions opposing an issue supported by Coeur d’Alene’s heaviest hitters. That’s how you survive around here. But it must be awfully hard looking yourself in the mirror each morning.

Brown makes chamber official look good

Shawn Keough has at least two qualifications for the Republican District 1 Senate seat: She’s the timber information coordinator for the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, and she’s not Gene Brown. Brown, the ill-tempered ex-Bonner County commissioner, is trying a political comeback. Let’s hope Keough keeps him retired.

, DataTimes

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