Democrats

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.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

  Democratic lawmakers are urging the Board of Correction to put Idaho's largest prison back under state control instead of contracting with another private prison operator.

The letter signed by 16 of the Legislature's 20 Democrats was delivered Tuesday by an unexpected messenger: Republican Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's spokesman, Mark Warbis.

Democrats, Donkey, Politics
DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Democrats in Idaho are hoping to breathe new life into the party in this overwhelmingly Republican state. Party leaders are hitting the road with an appeal to Latino, gay and lesbian, and female voters.

Courtesty of the Idaho Democratic Party

The Idaho Democratic Party has a new chairman. Party officials picked Post Falls native Larry Kenck on Saturday to replace outgoing chairman Larry Grant.

Kenck is a former chairman of the Kootenai County Central Committee and served as an official with the Teamsters Union group that represents northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

He also ran unsuccessfully for state senate seats in 1996 and 1998 and now serves on the Idaho Industrial Commission Advisory Board.

Rachel Cheney

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up about a quarter of Idaho’s population, and they’re watching Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on the edge of their seats. It’s the closest a Mormon has come to the presidency. But not all are voting for Romney.

Idaho Democratic Party / Sally Boynton Brown

More than 30 Democrats from Idaho are in North Carolina this week for the Democratic National Convention.  Sixty-seven-year-old Jim Fletcher is among them. This is his second convention, though he says he’s been involved in politics for more than 40 years. Fletcher works as an administrator at Idaho State University in Pocatello.  We caught up with him on his cell phone during a break in the activities in Charlotte.

Q:  How has the atmosphere in Charlotte this week compared to that in Denver four years ago?

Idaho Democratic Party

The Idaho Democratic Party starts its state convention Thursday in Boise. 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

So you’re planning to vote in a Primary on Tuesday.  Here’s what you need to know: 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Now that the Idaho Republican Party has opted for a closed primary, voters will encounter some big changes at the polling booth.  Elections officials are trying to explain the new format to the public, and prepare workers for questions on voting day.  Lots of questions. 

Helen Robins is gearing up for Election Day.  She’s petite, energetic, and she laughs a lot.  She’s been a poll worker and a Chief Judge, that’s the person in charge at a precinct.  “I think I’ve seen it all…”

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

When you vote in the primary next Tuesday, you must, for the first time, register for a political party.  That’s after the Idaho Republican Party sued the state for the right to close its primary.  The GOP argued party faithful, not crossover Democrats, should pick Republican candidates.

Idaho State Legislature

Idaho Democrats pushed for a jobs package and ethics reform at the start of this legislative term.  At the end, none of these proposals made it very far.  They announced Friday they’ll renew their efforts next year.  Democrats also want a constitutional amendment to guard against mandated medical procedures. 

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