Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Primary 2012: Backing a Winner

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Left to right: Anna Isaacson, Jennifer Martinez, Joe Gonzalez
  • Harrison Berry
  • Left to right: Anna Isaacson, Jennifer Martinez, Joe Gonzalez.

A hush fell over Beside Bardenay. The blue rectangle on the wall where the projector beamed its ambient light suddenly flickered to life: The results from Tuesday's Primary voting had begun to trickle in.

Attendees had, until that point, used their inside voices, chatting amiably. Occasionally over the muffle of conversation, one could hear formal addresses—“sir” or “ma’am”—but when the figures from the primaries were displayed, the character in the room changed from polite modesty to elation. Wine glasses crashed to the floor near the bar in shrill, tinkling bursts, and beer sloshed over the rims of many a pint glass.

Jennifer Martinez, campaign manager for Mat Erpelding (who won the Democratic race for House Seat A in District 19), said her candidate’s diligence is inspiring, which is why she enjoys working with him on his campaign.

“His ability to do research and his work ethic is really incredible,” she said.

When asked if there any other candidates she would like to see win nominations, she shrugged.

“We’re just out supporting Democrats in general,” said Martinez. “We just hope we can increase our numbers in the Legislature.”

Sitting at the same table was Anna Isaacson, who also supports Erpelding. She said her strongest connection to the candidate was his opposition to Tom Luna’s education reforms.

“What really made me want to help out on his campaign was his views on education,” she said.

When Erpelding’s vote in the primary reached 49 percent, Martinez clapped triumphantly.

“I feel amazing right now!” she said.

Four women stood at a table near the front of the room, all armed with white Congressional candidate Nicole LeFavour T-shirts and half-drunk pints, cheering among themselves. LeFavour had won the Democratic primary race by a landslide. When asked what they would be doing after the primary, they elected Rialin Flores to be their spokesperson.

“We’re going to get some rest and get back on the phones tomorrow,” she said. Her companions clapped. “We’re going to thank the voters, we’re going to thank the donors, and then we’re going to talk strategy.”

Their target: Idaho’s undecided and moderate voters.

“Idaho has an incredible population of moderates,” Flores said.

Near the back of the room, LeFavour supporter Cindy Gross outlined her plans for after the primary.

“I will continue to donate every penny possible. I will continue to have that house party,” she said.

Gross became interested in LeFavour after hearing her deliver a speech about mental health and prison reform, and commends LeFavour’s skills as a politician.

“She can take what people need and translate that into effective legislation,” she said.

But what makes LeFavour Gross’ favorite candidate is her advocacy of issues close to Gross’ heart—women’s issues. A Microsoft employee working on a Customer Advisory Team, Gross is also on the board of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, which is active in Alaska, Washington and Idaho.

Though Gross is a fervent LeFavour supporter, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest has not yet officially endorsed a candidate.

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