Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is predicting the turnout of registered voters at 80 percent in the Fall '08 presidential elections. As Ysursa told BW this week, his prognostication is based on a scientific analysis of new registrations, early voting returns and his 384 years experience in elections.
Monica Hopkins, who has worked in several local nonprofit organizations, will take the helm at the American Civil Liberties of Idaho on Dec. 1.
After moving to Boise from San Francisco in 1997, Hopkins worked as Director of Development for Planned Parenthood of Idaho and Executive Director of the Fund for Idaho, a progressive grantmaking foundation. As the Director of Development & Communications for the Friends of Zoo Boise, she completed a $3.7 million capital campaign to build an African Plains Exhibit, increased membership by 23%, and updated the organization’s technology and communications practices.
We have been reading and writing about next week's elections forever, man. But when we sat down to write BW's election guide a few weeks ago, we just could not do it. There are so many words out there, so much political verbage on the internets and in your daily papers, that we froze.
Tensions must be running high when a simple question to a legislative candidate gets such a clipped response.
"I had a print job that didn't go very well, and I had some problems with my financial reports," Kevin McGowan, District 19 candidate for House, said of why he wasn't able to attend the North End Neighborhood Association candidate forum on Monday night. "I'm actually trying to hand this stuff in now, so I think you have your answer, and I guess you're going to do what you're going to do," he said after further questioning. Click.
"I was very surprised that he wasn't there," said Brian Cronin, McGowan's opponent.
McGowan is also the president of NENA. Gary Reedy, NENA's vice president, said that the organization kept McGowan completely out of the loop in the forum planning process to prevent a conflict of interest.
"We made sure that he was not going to be participating in the actual conducting of the forum," Reedy said. "We do not endorse any candidates or any ballot positions. Our entire objective was to provide a neutral forum so that people in the North End could come out and hear their candidates for the state legislature and for the county commission."
Reedy said that about 45 people gathered to hear the candidates speak. All of the District 19 candidates were present except for McGowan and Democrat Anne Pasely-Stuart, who is running unopposed for 19's other House seat. The four county commission candidates and one ACHD candidate also attended.
"He had emailed beforehand but I hadn't checked that email," Reedy said about how McGowan alterted him that he would not be attending.
McGowan has criticized Cronin in the past for failing to show up to a candidate forum sponsored by the Collister Neighborhood Association, according to Cronin.
"I didn't even know about it until after the fact," Cronin said. He said that Joan Wallace, one of the event's organizers, later called and apologized for not inviting him, saying that she didn't expect McGowan to show up because only a few dozen houses in the Collister area belong to District 19.
Cronin jabbed back at McGowan on his blog, saying that Republicans were conspicuously absent from the Sept. 18 forum sponsored by the Idaho Women's Network, the Snake River Alliance and the Association for Education of Young Children, among several others.
"Why would he skip out on this forum? I can't really say for sure," Cronin wrote. But he later speculated: "I can only surmise that perhaps it's because the answers he would give to questions on human rights, reproductive rights, energy, and the role of faith in politics might not jibe with the values and preferences of District 19 voters."
Lately, McGowan's blog has been berating Cronin for "refusing to debate" at Boise State at a political science forum this Thursday.
"Despite multiple attempts by the organizer to contact my opponent, he has not responded," McGowan wrote. "If there is a miscommunication, that is fine, he needs to get in touch and confirm his attendance."
Cronin said there hasn't been a miscommunication; he simply hasn't decided yet whether or not to attend.
"I haven't refused, actually. I haven't decided. I sort of left it open," he said. "We've got a week to go in the campaign, and there's a lot of voters I'm still trying to contact here in the last week. The time could be well spent contacting voters."
Idaho's own Rep. Bill Sali is making national headlines again—but not the good kind.
Politico.com has just come out with its list of the top 10 moments that changed the race for Congress. No. 2 on that list is Sali's "shenanigans," including making bunny ears behind the head of KTVB Channel-7 reporter Ysabel Bilbao during an on-air interview with the spokesman for his Democratic challenger, Walt Minnick.
"This GOP freshman class president has turned into the class clown and is facing the wrath from voters back home," states the Politico story.
The political Web site is calling the race an even run, surprising in a state as red as Idaho.
Sen. Barack Obama has won an early poll in Idaho, a secured, on-line, vote among the state's high school students.
As the U.S. heads into another huge presidential election, Idaho has the distinction of being the only state clinging to the old punch card ballot.
This week's BW takes a look at the Second Congressional District race, highlighting citizen-candidate Debbie Holme's uphill battle against Mike Simpson.
This afternoon, the City Club held a forum for County Commission candidates in Districts 1 and 2. Paul Woods (D), Sharon Ullman (R), Rick Yzaguirre (R) and David Langhorst (D) fielded questions from Jim Weatherby about issues like land use, property taxes, open spaces and planned community development.
The banquet room at the Grove Hotel was packed with concerned citizens and cheap lunch aficionados, alike. Highlights of the forum included: Ullman and Langhorst speaking out against the "at will" personnel system passed by the last commission; Woods clarifying the commissions’ budget and recent money-saving cuts; and Langhorst indicting the “unfettered development” allowed under past commissions.
In other county commission news: BW’s Teresa Shipley trekked out to incumbent Woods’ and challenger Ullman’s neighborhoods to profile the District 1 race for today’s issue. Though Ullman declined an interview at her home, Wood’s spoke with Shipley from his Foothills house north of Hill road about hiking, mountain biking, beer and his fight to protect open spaces.
Check back in next week's BW for a profile of the Yzaguirre/Langhorst race with insights into the two candidates and the places they call home.
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader told the Boise press yesterday that his 4 percent write-in showing in 2000 in Idaho was unprecedented. But Nader only got 2.5 percent in 2000, which is still a lot of votes ... some 12,000 actually. Maybe that's still unprecedented though for a write-in candidate. Somebody Google that...