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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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GOP gains mean more of the same at Idaho Statehouse

BOISE – While much of the nation endorsed a sharp change in political direction Tuesday, Idaho went its own way – the same way it’s headed for the past four years, only more so. “Here in Idaho, it’s a different story – it’s about staying the course,” said Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko. “It’s about fiscal responsibility, about understanding that government needs to be small.”

Eye on Boise: Complicated or not, Idaho backs amendments

BOISE – Here’s why it’s not surprising that all four constitutional amendments on this year’s Idaho ballot passed, and passed fairly easily: That’s our history. All 11 previous constitutional amendments that have appeared on Idaho’s ballot since 1998 have won approval from Idaho voters, including complex measures dealing with endowment investment reform. Even when amendments are complicated and difficult to understand, Idaho voters tend to support them.

Labrador says win sends message

BOISE – Idaho elected its first Hispanic to represent the state in Congress on Tuesday, as Raul Labrador upset freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick with a decisive 51 percent to 41.3 percent victory. Labrador, a conservative Republican state lawmaker and immigration attorney, said he thought the “first” was significant because it sent a message to the nation about Idahoans.

Supermajority in, some taxes out

Washington voters removed some taxes and made it tougher for the Legislature to create new ones, but seemed to turn down plans to privatize some state services. Idaho voters passed a string of changes to the state’s bonding rules designed to help hospitals, airports and other public projects. And Spokane voters turned thumbs down to Proposition 1, a plan to raise $5 million per year to help fight high school dropout rates.

GOP incumbents finding easy wins in Idaho

A tumultuous election in Idaho led to high turnout and strong feelings, but the most-Republican-voting state in the nation was left little changed. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter rallied to win a second four-year term, despite widespread concern about his decision to cut school funding and the failure of the major initiative of his first term, a big investment in the state’s roads.

Eye on Boise: Large voter turnout predicted at Idaho polls

BOISE – It’s election time – grab your ID and head to the polls on Tuesday. This is the first general election at which Idaho’s new requirement for voters to show photo ID is in effect; those who don’t have it can sign a personal identity affidavit.

Allred plans campaign stops

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred and some of his supporters will roll through North Idaho on Monday for a series of “mini-rallies.” Allred, a former citizen activist and founder of The Common Interest, is challenging first-term Republican Gov. Butch Otter in Tuesday’s election.

National group fuels ads targeting Allred

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter likes to say he doesn’t go negative – all his TV campaign ads are positive and are about him, not his opponent. But there have been plenty of negative ads targeting Otter’s Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, thanks to a $400,000 infusion this month from the Republican Governors Association to the Idaho Republican Party.

Minnick’s latest TV ad disputed

BOISE – Idaho congressman Walt Minnick has come out with another hard-hitting TV ad about GOP rival Raul Labrador, this one focusing on a federal drug case involving an illegal immigrant that Labrador handled as an attorney in 2001. Minnick says that after Labrador got his client released pending trial, the man was deported to Mexico, thus avoiding facing the charges.

Budget at issue in final governor debate

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter defended his cuts to education and his track record as governor Thursday night, as he met four rivals in the final debate before Tuesday’s election. “The choice had to be made, because there’s only two ways that you can balance the budget: You either cut the government or you increase the tax load for the citizenry,” Otter declared. “We chose the former.”

House rivals squabble over wilderness, campaign funds

BOISE – With the latest independent poll showing Idaho’s 1st District congressional race narrowing to a dead heat, congressman Walt Minnick and GOP rival Raul Labrador clashed in a debate Thursday on everything from wilderness to mega-loads on Highway 12.

Ad highlights vote on specialty plates

BOISE – Idaho U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick has launched a new TV ad that repeats his earlier criticisms of GOP rival Raul Labrador, plus adds a new one: that Labrador “dishonored Idaho’s veterans by voting against a program honoring those who died serving our nation.” Labrador’s campaign called the new claim “a misleading smear.”

Job creation tops Idahoans’ concerns

With the election less than a week away, Idaho voters are worried about their state’s economy, wary of plans to run huge trucks across scenic U.S. Highway 12, and averse to generating more funds for road improvements in the state. Those results from the Idaho Newspapers Poll, a collaboration of The Spokesman-Review and six Idaho newspapers, show an unsettled electorate in a state that’s about to decide whether to keep its current governor, members of Congress and other top leaders – and could spell trouble for the incumbents if they hold their seats.

TV stations pull anti-Minnick ad

BOISE – At least two TV stations pulled a new independent ad against Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick Tuesday that falsely claims Minnick voted in favor of the federal stimulus bill. He was one of 11 Democrats who voted against the bill.

Minnick, Labrador race close

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick’s lead over Republican Raul Labrador fell from 10 percentage points in mid-September to 3 percentage points late last week, says a poll commissioned by The Spokesman-Review and six other newspapers. The freshman Democrat’s lead is so narrow that it may not exist at all because it falls within the poll’s 5-point margin of error.

Otter and Allred on election issues

Here’s a look at how Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Democratic challenger Keith Allred differ on big issues in the race: • SCHOOL FUNDING: Otter approved an unprecedented 7.5 percent cut for public schools this year; he said it was unavoidable in the state’s budget crunch, and that when the economy improves, schools will be the first to get funding back. Allred says the cut was unneeded, as the state low-balled the revenue estimates used to set the budget and could have filled vacant tax auditor positions to collect taxes due but not collected. He pledges to protect schools from budget cuts.

Incumbent Otter faces mediator, activist Allred

BOISE – Butch Otter’s long-awaited turn as Idaho’s governor – he first ran for the post in 1978 and served as lieutenant governor for 14 years – hasn’t turned out quite the way he planned. He promised improvements to education, a business-friendly climate, and a restructured, more-efficient state government that would be “the people’s servant” and allow Idahoans to “achieve greatness.”

Allred wants to retain state control of wolves

BOISE – Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, announced Thursday that he opposes Gov. Butch Otter’s decision to pull Idaho out of wolf management, and that if elected, he’d reverse it. “We should be expanding state control, not giving it away to the federal government,” Allred said. “If we want wolves delisted, we need to stay in the game.”

Labrador TV ad misled on rival

BOISE – Republican Raul Labrador’s campaign has pulled a new ad that took a remark made by U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick out of context to suggest the Democrat favors a middle-class tax increase. Minnick misspoke during a 2008 debate on Idaho Public Television with then U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, but then corrected himself two minutes later and said: “We need to have a middle class tax cut, not another tax cut for the rich.”