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D’S An Endangered Species

Unless the Idaho Legislature steps in quickly, the Idaho Democrat will go the way of the dodo. On Tuesday, the number of Democrats dwindled from eight to a precarious five in the 35-seat Senate and from 13 to 11 in the 70-seat House. In blue-collar North Idaho, only two of 12 legislators will have a “D” after their names in January, including veteran Rep. Jim Stoicheff of Bonner County who ran unopposed. No one wants to see the Democrats become extinct. Republicans need to keep a couple of them around - to taunt, if nothing else. Maybe Republican Gov. Phil Batt should seek endangered-species status for them. Then, a small herd of Democrats could be managed back to sustainable levels. The state could establish a political refuge camp for them in compatible Shoshone County so schoolchildren could study them on field trips. If the D’s can survive until 2002, when incumbent R’s face term limits for the first time, they may have a chance to grab a few seats. Otherwise, they’d better start listening to Rush and running for office as Republicans.

Don’t expect kinder, gentler Rankin

A theory was going around Wednesday that Ron Rankin would agree not to cause waves now that he’s won a seat on the all-Republican Kootenai County commission. Hahaha. Some of you guys out there will believe anything. Rankin proved he’s not going to be a Rodney-King-why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along guy on Wednesday when he announced his first order of business. He plans to ask his new playmates, Dick Compton and Dick Panabaker, for copies of all correspondence on county stationery mailed from their office in the months ahead. That’ll enable him to get up to speed on county business - and to keep an eye on his co-workers. You won’t see any more courthouse business going on behind closed doors. I hope King Richard I and Richard II have their seat belts buckled. The ride ahead is going to be bumpy.

Quality R’s should help North Idaho

For the first time in a long time, North Idaho will be a major player in the 1997 Idaho Legislature. Voters up here guaranteed themselves a voice by sending three top-notch Republicans to the state Senate - incumbent Gordon Crow in District 3 and newcomers Shawn Keough (District 1) and Jack Riggs (District 4) - and by electing at least one Republican representative in each of Districts 1 through 4. That means each district has a voice in the supermajority caucus in each house. Die-hard Democrats don’t like me saying so, but North Idaho voters were wise to go Republican this time. North Idaho has been out of the leadership loop for too long.

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125 or by sending e-mail to

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125 or by sending e-mail to