Politics + Policy

Election 2014
11:59 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Shows Idaho GOP's Wounds Healing, Democrats Still Struggling

A.J. Balukoff put nearly $3.2 million of his own money into his campaign. Balukoff lost to two-term incumbent Gov. Butch Otter.
Credit 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.

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Election 2014
10:32 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Idaho's Gov. Otter Wins A Rare Third Term

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, with First Lady Lori Otter, was elected to his third consecutive term as Idaho governor.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 10:45 a.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has won a rare third term leading the state.

Otter, now 72, has been a fixture of Idaho politics since he was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1973. Otter has been a legislator, a congressman and one of the state's longest-serving lieutenant governors. 

He was first elected governor of Idaho in 2006. This year, Otter faced a difficult race against his Democratic challenger, Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff.

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Election 2014
9:18 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Idaho Republicans Sweep Statewide Elections

Republicans Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson congratulate each other on a successful election. Simpson was elected to his ninth term, Risch, his second.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 7:50 a.m.

Idaho Republicans have swept the state's top elected offices and seats in Congress. In addition to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter being elected to a rare consecutive three-year term, every down-ticket race also went to Otter's Republican colleagues.

Secretary of State

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Election 2014
1:35 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Election Day Scam Attempts To Bribe Idaho Voters

Idaho's Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says a telephone scam offering potential voters $25 for their votes is being reported across the state this Election Day.

“Bribing someone for their vote is a crime,” Wasden said in a press release. “If anyone receives a call like this, I urge you not to engage the caller and to hang up the phone immediately.”

Wasden's office says the caller ID on these scam calls is 714-714-4000.

Election 2014
11:48 am
Tue November 4, 2014

NPR's Election Night Live Blog

Election 2014
5:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Your Last-Minute Guide To Voting In Idaho

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

It's Election Day! Maybe you’ve been closely following the races and you know the issues and how you'll cast your ballot. But maybe you don’t actually know how or where or when to vote.

So, here are a few pieces of information to help you out.

Polls are open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

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2014 Election
1:34 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

5 Idaho Legislative Districts To Watch On Election Day

Idaho Statehouse
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's legislative races are not very competitive, at least that's the opinion of Gary Moncrief, professor emeritus at Boise State University, who studies state legislatures.

While all 105 seats in the Legislature are up for grabs this year, Moncrief sees only five districts where the races could be close.

“In Idaho, usually somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the seats are not contested,” says Moncrief.

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Election 2014
9:52 am
Mon November 3, 2014

6 Things You Told Us About Being An Idaho Democrat

Credit 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.

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Ethics
5:24 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Idaho GOP Bus Tour Stop May Have Violated Ethics Code

Republican candidates running for statewide and legislative offices stopped at a public charter school, where they were greeted by the student body, while traveling on a campaign bus tour.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Oct. 24 visit raises questions over whether the stop violated Idaho's education ethics code. The code forbids schools from promoting political candidates or political activities.

Pictures of the event show campaign signs posted in front of Gooding's North Valley Academy Public Charter School.

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Election 2014
10:15 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Idaho Gubernatorial Candidates Square Off One Final Time Before Election Day

A.J. Balukoff, John Bujak and Butch Otter during Thursday night's Idaho Public Television debate. It was the candidates' final debate of the race.
Credit Idaho Public Television

In their last meeting before Tuesday's election, three men running to be Idaho's governor wasted no time in taking shots at each other's policies and ideas. The debate, hosted by Idaho Public Television, featured incumbent Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Democrat A.J. Balukoff and Libertarian John Bujak.

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2014 Election
4:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Many Young People Don't Vote, We Explain Why This Young Idahoan Does

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

It’s no secret that young voters are less likely to vote than older voters. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in every presidential election since 1964, 18-to 24-year-olds voted at lower rates than all other age groups. In the last mid-term election, 21.3 percent of 18-to 24-year-olds voted. The number was almost three times higher for those 65 and over.

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Election 2014
7:10 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Idaho's GOP Governor Faces Two Hurdles: A Wealthy Democrat And Fed-Up Republicans

Gov. Butch Otter, with First Lady Lori Otter, spoke at the Republican Party's "unity rally" in May.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A favorite joke in Idaho -- at least among Republicans -- is that Idaho's Democrats could hold their convention in a phone booth.

Republicans have held the Idaho governor's office for 20 years and are easily the state’s ruling party. But this year, Republican governor Butch Otter doesn't face the easy ride back to office you might expect.

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Election 2014
5:51 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Balukoff Puts Up $3.2 Million Into His Campaign For Idaho Governor

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A.J. Balukoff has said he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to unseat incumbent Gov. Butch Otter.

And we now know that includes putting more than $3.2 million into the race.

The latest round of campaign finance reports came in Tuesday — a snapshot covering the period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. In that time, the businessman, accountant and Boise School Board trustee contributed $995,000 to his campaign, bringing his total contributions for the year past the $2.7 million mark. Since Oct. 19, Balukoff has put an additional $545,000 into the race.

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Election 2014
4:59 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

In This Republican Stronghold, Why One Idaho Man Still Votes Democrat

Jerry Panko working in his north Boise front yard.
Credit 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.

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Gay Rights
9:45 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Lewiston Becomes 9th Idaho City To Approve Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Officials in the north-central Idaho city of Lewiston have passed an ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Lewiston City Council passed the ordinance Monday on a 5-2 vote.

Lewiston is the ninth city in Idaho to pass an ordinance protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

Election 2014
4:04 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

National GOP Group Drops $500K Into Idaho Governor's Race

TV cameras focus on Idaho Governor Butch Otter (top left) and Democrat A.J. Balukoff (top right) at the gubernatorial debate in Coeur d'Alene on October 3.

New campaign finance reports show a national Republican group has spent more than $500,000 trying to re-elect Gov. Butch Otter in Idaho.

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Gay Marriage
1:09 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

Federal Government Now Recognizes Gay Marriage In Idaho

Credit MyTudut / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states, extending federal benefits to those couples.

Attorney General Eric Holder says the states are: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Saturday's announcement brings the total number of states with federal recognition of same-sex marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia.

Couples married in these states will qualify for a range of federal benefits, including Social Security and veterans' benefits.

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2014 Election
3:54 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

In Latest Campaign Gaffe, Ybarra's Degrees In Question

Sherri Ybarra is a Republican running to lead Idaho's public schools.
Credit Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

This story was updated at 6:50 p.m. Oct. 23. 

Sherri Ybarra's campaign has issued a statement about her academic achievements after questions surfaced earlier this week about whether she was in the process of completing a doctorate in education.

Idaho Education News reports that Ybarra is 18 credits shy of completing her doctorate.

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Election 2014
1:52 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

After Scandal, Typically Quiet Idaho Treasurer Race Heats Up

Deborah Silver, left, is running for treasurer against longtime incumbent Ron Crane.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Public Television

Idaho's normally quiet race for state treasurer is heating up during the last leg of the midterm election as four-term incumbent Ron Crane faces off against political newcomer Deborah Silver.

Republican Crane has held the office since 1998 with few viable Democratic opponents.

However, this year he's defending his 16 years in office after a recent legislative audit claimed he mismanaged funds that resulted in a $20 million loss of taxpayer money.

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Gay Marriage
9:38 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Idaho Wedding Chapel That Refuses To Marry Gays Sets Off Conservative Alarm Bells

The Hitching Post in Couer d'Alene has filed a preemptive lawsuit against the city.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Religious conservatives around the country are rallying to the defense of a wedding chapel in north Idaho whose owners don’t want to perform gay marriages.

The mayor of Coeur d’Alene and governor of Idaho are being inundated by hundreds of calls and thousands of emails even though neither has taken any action against the wedding chapel.

The quaint Old West style wedding chapel called the Hitching Post is just across the street from the county courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

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