Democrats

A.J. Balukoff, 2014 Election, Democrats
Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Tuesday’s elections revealed two political parties headed in different directions in Idaho.

For the GOP, the sweep of statewide races was a step in healing wounds opened during a contentious summer. But Democrats’ optimism gave way to the stark reality that they continue to struggle for competitiveness in one of the reddest states in the country.

Democrats, Donkey, Politics
DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

We recently asked our Boise State Public Radio Facebook followers about what it's like to be an Idaho Democrat, and we got a big response.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Jerry Panko vacuums up leaves around the candidate signs in his north Boise front yard. Panko is a retired teacher, he refers to himself a liberal, he’s a big fan of unions and he’s a long-time Democrat.

With Election Day a week away we’re profiling some Idaho voters. We talked with Panko about the experience of being a hardcore Democrat in Idaho.

Panko says the affiliation came in handy nearly three decades ago when he first asked out the woman who would become his wife. She had some requirements for him.

Idaho Public Television

The two candidates vying for the job of Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction faced off Tuesday night in a debate sponsored by Idaho Public Television. 

Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones are competing to replace Tom Luna, who's stepping down at the end of his current term. 

jana jones, education, election 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Democrat running to be Idaho’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction says funding and low morale are the two biggest issues facing Idaho’s schools.

Former Gov. John Victor Evans Sr., one of Idaho's last Mormon Democrats to achieve statewide political success, has died. He was 89.

Summers Funeral Home confirmed he died Tuesday morning at his home in Boise.

Evans was born Jan. 18, 1925, in Malad City. He is the grandson of the founder of the Idaho-based D.L. Evans Bank.

Evans was elected Idaho lieutenant governor in 1974, a position he held for the next three years. In 1977, he was elevated to the chief executive job when then-Gov. Cecil D. Andrus was named U.S. Interior secretary under President Jimmy Carter.

Democrats, Donkey, Politics
DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Democrats meet this weekend in Moscow for their state party convention. It comes a week after the state’s Republican convention, which the Washington Post called “a total fiasco.” Factional infighting prevented Idaho’s dominant party from accomplishing anything on its convention agenda, including electing a party chairman.

It’s political convention season in Idaho. Republicans held theirs last weekend and Democrats will meet this weekend. Randy Stapilus admits what happens at party conventions doesn’t typically reach directly into people’s lives.

Betty Richardson, Jim Weatherby, Ben Ysursa
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Republican Party has dominated Idaho politics for most of its history. In fact, it's one of the reddest states in the country. But it hasn't always been that way. Twenty years ago, Idaho had a Democratic governor.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Whenever people talk about Idaho politics, chances are someone will say something like “Idaho is one of the reddest, if not the reddest state in the country.” Republicans have been the majority party for most of the state’s history, but until relatively recently, Democrats were also very competitive.

To find out how Idaho became a one party state, take this stroll down the historic road to red.

Idaho’s First 100 Years of Party Politics

Democrats, Donkey, Politics
DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Two Democratic candidates spurred by a recent political scandal in the Idaho Treasurer's Office hope to oust four-term incumbent Ron Crane.

The treasurer's race is one of only two statewide political contests for the Democratic party. Crane faces no challenger in the May 20 primary election.

The Democratic primary candidates are Twin Falls accountant Deborah Silver and Boise freelance writer W. Lane Startin.

Idaho's top Democratic lawmakers have asked the FBI to investigate private prison company Corrections Corporation of America for possible criminal wrongdoing at the state's largest prison.

The letter sent to Boise FBI Agent Ernie Weyand on Thursday says the lawmakers are concerned that the Idaho State Police lacks both the manpower and expertise needed to properly investigate the Nashville, Tenn.-based company's activities in Idaho.

The lawmakers also say the investigation may cross state lines, putting it under federal jurisdiction.

Rep. Holli Woodings, a Boise Democrat, has announced her plan to run for Idaho's secretary of state seat.

The freshman lawmaker is aiming for the spot currently filled by Republican Ben Ysursa, who is set to retire at the end of the year.

The race is already crowded.

GOP members Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane, and former senators Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanski are all running.

Woodings, who vowed to maintain a nonpartisan approach if voted into office, is a Boise State University graduate.

Democrats blasted Republicans during their annual response to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's State of the State speech, charging the majority party with "starving schools."

At a press conference Tuesday, House Minority Leader John Rusche, from Lewiston, and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, criticized Republican claims that education funding cuts over the last five years resulted from the "Great Recession."

Rusche and Stennett countered these cuts were "choice, intentional and deliberate."

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats from a Boise legislative district that's among Idaho's most-competitive has selected its three top candidates to replace a departing state senator.

District 18 in southeastern Boise is aiming to fill the vacancy left when former Sen. Branden Durst relocated to western Washington.

They are incumbent state Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, the No. 1 choice of the district's officials; Lawrence Crowley, a utility consultant; and Elizabeth Oppenheimer, an education advocate.

AJForIdaho.com

The Idaho Democrats' choice to run for governor was listed as a Republican five years ago.

In 2008, Anthony Joseph "A.J." Balukoff was named as a Republican backer of then-U.S. House candidate Walt Minnick.

Balukoff was among 60 "Republicans for Minnick" during the Democrat's successful run against Bill Sali.

In an August 2008 e-mail from Minnick's campaign, Balukoff topped a group that had "supported the Republican Party with time, with money and with votes. And we will continue to do so in this election and in elections to come," according to the message.

Jimmy Farris
Courtesy Jimmy Farris

Jimmy Farris, a political unknown trounced last year by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, plans to seek a seat in the state House.

Farris tells the Lewiston Tribune he plans to run as a Democrat in Boise's District 16.

He is seeking the House seat held by Democrat Grant Burgoyne, who is running for the Idaho Senate after Sen. Les Bock retires.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats in Idaho’s Legislature unveiled four bills Wednesday they plan to introduce in the 2014 session that starts in January. The bills would implement the recommendations of the state’s education improvement task force.

AJForIdaho.com

Boise School Board Chairman and businessman A.J. Balukoff is expected to announce Tuesday he's running for governor of Idaho. The Idaho Democratic Party says Balukoff will make his announcement at Hillcrest Elementary School Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., however, a press release was leaked from at least two Facebook pages that confirmed Balukoff's gubernatorial bid.

Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says he is aware of that leaked information, but says it's an internal issue he can't comment on. Ferguson says Balukoff has made no official announcement yet.

A group in north Idaho says they’re tired of the Democrat versus Republican national drama.

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