Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Primary Results: District 19 House Races

May 16, 2012

It was a three-way Democratic race for House Seat A in Boise’s District 19. In the end, Matthew Erpelding took home enough votes to win the primary. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to go into the Legislature and work and write and see things from behind the scenes and be involved in trying to push forward what I think is progressive and intelligent policy.” 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Tea Party favorite Raul Labrador easily beat challenger Reed McCandless of Moscow.  McCandless is a 50-year old truck driver.  Two years ago, Labrador beat Vaughn Ward in the Republican primary despite being considered the underdog.  Labrador went on to beat one term Congressman Walt Minnick, a Democrat. Labrador says he’s met many of the goals he had when he went to Washington two years ago. But he says there’s a long way to go on one of his main campaign themes, immigration reform:

Durst To Face Toryanski For District 18 In November

May 16, 2012

In a closely watched Democratic race, Branden Durst beat Matthew Duncan Tuesday night in South Boise’s District 18.  Durst and Duncan are against the public education reform laws known as Students Come First or what Democrats call the “Luna laws.” They both are for ethics reform, and against requiring an ultrasound before an abortion.  But Durst does have a four-year history in the Idaho Legislature.  

Three sitting judges will keep their seats after running unopposed in Tuesday's primary.  For those who voted the unaffiliated ballot, their only choice was to vote for Supreme Court Justice Dan Eismann  and Appellate Court Judges David Gratton and John Melanson.  A few people chose the unaffiliated ballot than the Democratic or Republican one. That could be a problem, says Gary Moncrief.  The political science professor at Boise State says fewer people are likely to vote for judges than in the other races.


Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Turnout was low as Idaho voters cast their ballots in the state’s first-ever closed primary.  Many who did go to the polls said they were frustrated by the new process.  One of them was Kelvin Taysom.  He turned out early in the southeast Idaho town of Rockland, population 318.  He was the fourth person to vote at Rockland City Hall, but his was a vote of protest.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday's primaries in Idaho mark the beginning of a new way of voting in the state. The Republican Party closed its primary. That means voters must declare their political affiliation before they can cast a ballot.  Scott Ki visited polling sites in Boise and Meridian to find out how today's primaries are going. 

There aren’t many voters coming out to cast ballots in the state’s first closed primary.  Phil Mcgrane, Chief Deputy of the Ada County Clerk's Office says, "The one big thing of note is that turn out seems to be low."

Big Dubya / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is now one of more than 30 states that has a closed or semi closed primary. For the first time Tuesday voters must declare a party affiliation before casting a ballot. That presents an ethical dilemma for some people who want to remain non-partisan including journalists.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Close to three hundred people are vying for a chance to sit in the Idaho Legislature next year.  Tomorrow’s  primaries will pit party members against each other for the chance to compete in the general election in November.  Gary Moncrief is watching the races closely.  The political science professor with Boise State says redistricting is the reason behind the large candidate turnout.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters go to the polls to cast ballots in the primaries tomorrow.

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

County election headquarters around Idaho are busy places ahead of tomorrow’s primary - especially in Ada County.  The state’s most populous county re-did its Election Headquarters after the last Presidential Election.  Samantha Wright took a tour to find out how your vote gets counted in Ada County.

Lockheed Martin

Last week, the Air Force held public hearings on possibly basing its newest fighter jets in Mountain Home.  They drew about fifty people from the Treasure Valley. The search for a suitable home for the F-35A is now in its second year, but it’s unlikely the jets will actually end up in Mountain Home.   

The White House

Northwest gay rights supporters are cheering President Obama’s comments that he thinks same sex couples should be able to marry. But organizers of a petition drive to repeal Washington’s new marriage equality law hope to capitalize on the President’s new stance.

Referendum 74 is the name of the repeal measure in Washington. Backers say so far they’ve collected 70,000 signatures. That’s fewer than half the total the campaign hopes to submit to ensure the measure makes it on the November ballot. The deadline is June 6th.

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.