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50-Plus Crowd Dominates Idaho Vote

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?

GOP won the right precincts


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.

Mapping the 2010 vote: U.S. Senate

Data from Spokane County Elections Office/Computer analysis by Spin Control

Mapping the 2010 Vote: County Commissioner

Data from Spokane County Elections Office/Computer analysis by Spin Control

Mapping the 2010 vote: County auditor

Data from Spokane County Elections Office/Computer analysis by Spin Control

State turnout record? Missed it by that much

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.

Bragging rights go to Washington Poll

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.


Wiggins up by nearly 7,800

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.

Democrats want probe of AFPWA spending

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.

Wiggins takes lead, has voting trends on his side

Former Appeals Court Judge Charlie Wiggins took a narrow lead over incumbent Justice Richard Sanders in Washington’s tight Supreme Court race Tuesday afternoon.
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.

Wiggins takes lead…can he keep it?

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.

Stay tuned.

State Supreme Ct Race: Wiggins closes gap, Sanders warns of ‘theft’

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.

In an interview with AP’s Rachel La Corte, Sanders said he didn’t authorize the headline on the fund-raising e-mail and says it shouldn’t say that. (AP report can also be found inside the blog.)

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.

Self-financed campaigns faltered

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.

Among them:

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.


 

That was the campaign that was

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.

Seeing ones: Today’s vote count

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.

Turnout higher than expected

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.

Mapping the vote: Spokane County prosecutor’s race

The race between Steve Tucker and Frank Malone shows some very noticeable splits between precincts insided the city and outside the city.

These numbers come from the vote totals released Thursday evening.

Fun video bonus: Two different views of the election


President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell had two very different takes on what the American people were saying on Tuesday, and what they plan to do about it.

Mapping the vote: City Prop 1’s failure

The City of Spokane’s Proposition 1 was pretty unpopular, as the map above shows.

It had some small “yes” margins around the downtown core and a few precincts to the north and south. But it went from no to “hell no” as the precincts got further and further from the core, demonstrating what a tough election this was for anything to do with taxes.

Mapping the vote: Spokane County treasurer’s race

Republican challenger Rob Chase holds a narrow lead over Democratic County Treasurer Skip Chilberg in the vote counting. But an analysis of the vote shows that Chilberg ran strongest in the city of Spokane, while Chase built his margins in the Valley and unincorporated areas.

Dare to dream …

The GOP tidal wave is being credited with delivering election night victories to candidates at all levels of the political spectrum.

Here’s how Kootenai County Coroner-elect Debbie Wilkey described the 2-to-1 trouncing of her co-worker and Democratic opponent, chief deputy coroner Jody DuLuca Hissong, for the open position:

“If residents of the county came out to make a change, I’m glad I’m part of that change,” Wilkey, who ran as a Republican, said. “I’m so fully looking forward to doing the job of coroner, it is a true dream come true.”

Mapping the Vote: 6th District Senate race

Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner is beating Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Marr in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District by strong showings in precincts outside the city of Spokane.

This map shows vote percentages from the end of election night.

How close for recount?

The tight race for U.S. Senate would have to get noticeably tighter to trigger a mandatory recount.

Although tens of thousands of ballots have yet to be counted statewide, including more than 100,000 in King County alone, incumbent Democrat Patty Murray’s current lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi (722,396 to 708,391 as of the latest election night tabulation) is beyond the one half of 1 percent margin that would trigger a mandantory machine recount under state law.

A machine recount also can triggered in statewide races if the the margin between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes. A mandatory hand recount is conducted if the margin falls below 1,000 votes and one quarter of 1 percent of total ballots cast.

The state Elections Division has a fact sheet on recounts that can be found at this link.

Next year’s Legislative split, if trends hold

Democrats will hold a three-seat majority in the state Senate and an eight-seat majority in the state House if current trends in election results hold.

That’s a fairly big if, considering several of the races are within a couple percentage points and subject to change. One, Snohomish County’s 44th, has Democrat Steve Hobbs leading Republican Dave Schmidt by just eight votes.

Both sides in Senate race ‘figure’ on a win

Patty Murray and Dino Rossi both think the numbers are on their side for a win in Washington’s close U.S. Senate race.

Republican challenger Rossi’s campaign released a statement late Tuesday night citing his favorite statistics that would make the race go his way. Among them are that Republicans usually gain a couple percent in ballots counted after election day and that he’s doing very well in Spokane County, which still expects to count large numbers of ballots.

Democratic incumbent Murray’s campaign countered just after midnight with a different analysis, noting that King County, where she was polling about 62 percent of the vote, may have as many as 350,000 votes left to count.

As morning dawns Wednesday, they are separated by about 14,000 votes, or 1 percent of those counted so far. New numbers won’t be rolling in until this afternoon. To borrow a phrase from Bette Davis, Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

To read the full analyses, go inside the blog.

Two vote totals tonight in Spokane County

Spokane County will release two rounds of vote totals tonight, one shortly after voting closes at 8 p.m., and another between 10:30 and 11 p.m.

Old election hands can remember when the county had poll site voting and would release up to a dozen updates on election night. After switching to all-mail balloting, the county has had election nights where it released one tally, and others when it released two.

Other than keeping people in suspense, what this means is that folks at the election parties will have a reason to stick around and have a new round of results to either cheer or boo.

Run for prosecutor ignores law

Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor Jim Reierson has been campaigning for write-in votes for the top prosecutor spot in Spokane County, but it’s a race he can’t legally win.

Running as a candidate who prefers the “Law and Order” Party, Reierson lost his bid for that job in the primary. Washington state has statutes and administrative law that prevent a primary loser from filing a petition for a write-in campaign in the general, and without such a petition on file, write-in votes aren’t tallied.

“The votes will not be counted,” State Elections Director Nick Handy said.

“No write-in vote for that candidate is valid,” Katie Blinn, legal adviser to the Secretary of State’s office said. Two state statutes and a section of state administrative code spell that out, she added.

Reierson recently complained that the newspaper was ignoring his write-in campaign, and the fact that he’s not supporting either candidate for that office in the general. In  a weekend e-mail, he noted the newspaper has carried stories about other write-in campaigns, including Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign for U.S. Senate in Alaska.

(Alaska doesn’t have a law that prohibits a losing primary candidate from running in the general, so Murkowski’s votes can actually be counted and credited to her in that race. For the record: Reierson isn’t supporting either incumbent Steve Tucker or challenger Frank Malone.)

Efforts were unsuccessful this week to contact Reierson to explain why he’d be running for the county’s top legal position by asking voters to cast ballots that are invalid under state law. On Monday he called briefly to return a message and ask for a delay until Tuesday morning because he was tending to a gravely ill friend. On Tuesday, he e-mailed that he preferred “to relax and think about more pleasant memories on a nice sunny day, after dropping off an overdue book at the library. I apologize for not calling you this morning, but I just did not feel like it.”

He did close, however, with this comment on his campaign: “Unlike some candidates, I feel I stand for something positive.”

So as a previous post notes, voters can write in any name they choose on a ballot. But not every name will, or even can, be counted.

 

Candidates race to finish line

Candidates for Washington’s top electoral prize, a U.S. Senate seat that could determine which party controls that chamber of Congress for the next two years, started their full final day of the campaign at dawn, on opposite sides of the state.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi had breakfast at a downtown diner, greeting the morning crowd at the counter and telling eight longtime supporters “We’re getting there.” Rossi said he tries to stop at Frank’s Diner just south of the Maple Street Bridge whenever he’s in town. After fueling up with a full breakfast, Rossi caught a plane to the Tri-Cities, where he’ll be waving signs in Kennewick mid-morning then attending a lunchtime “meet and greet” in Everett before attending the vote-watch party in Bellevue this evening.

Democratic incumbent Patty Murray was on “dawn patrol”, greeting ferry commuters at the Seattle docks at 6:30 a.m. She’s scheduled to  meet volunteers in Everett mid-morning, in Tacoma at 11:15 a.m. and attend the election night party at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.

Around Spokane, morning commuters passed candidates and their supporters waving signs at intersections in a last attempt to drum up extra votes. Washington state election officials estimate that more than half the voters who are going to vote have already sent in their ballots, but that still leaves a large bloc of voters who still have ballots that were mailed to them sitting around the home somewhere.

Idaho voters go to the polls, which are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and under a new law must show ID when getting their ballot.  Residents who have not registered, but who have lived in the state for at least 30 days and are American citizens, can register and vote by bringing a government-issued photo identification and proof of residency to their local polling place.

For information on polling locations, drop boxes, voter service centers, and phone numbers for local county elections offices, click here.

This is it: Last day to vote

Months of television commercials, weeks of campaign mailers and days of street-corner sign waving end today. The election is now out of the hands of the candidates and the consultants, and in the hands of the voters.

In Washington, which has all-mail voting in all counties except Pierce County, today is the day voters must have their ballots postmarked, or placed in a deposit box before 8 p.m. Voters who have misplaced their ballots can get a replacement at a voter service center.

Drop boxes can be found at most public libraries in Spokane County. A full list of drop boxes and voter service centers for Spokane County, and phone numbers for elections offices in surrounding counties, can be found inside the blog.

In Idaho, voters can go to the polls between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to cast a ballot; under a new state law, all voters must present valid identification before receiving a ballot. A valid driver’s license or state ID card, a U.S. passport, a tribal identification card, a current student ID card issued by a state high school or a college in the state will be accepted.

Those who have been Idaho residents for at least 30 days, but have not yet registered, can register and vote at a polling place with  valid picture identification and a document that contains a valid address in the precinct.

A link to precinct polling stations in Kootenai County can be found here .

Tonight you can follow election results at spokesman.com/elections for the latest results and reaction, live updates on Twitter from Spokesman-Review and KHQ reporters, photos from the election night gatherings. And go to @spokesmanreview on Twitter for breaking news on the election and more.