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New West Daily Roundup for Mar. 2, 2017

Bruneau_Jarbridge_Owyhee Rivers Wilderness

Today in New West news: federal lands drive economic growth in rural counties, Bullock sets date for special election, and CO senator speaks out against Attorney General over pot.

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Send not to know for whom the political bell tolls. It tolls for Senator Bob Bennett (Probably)

No sacrae, ritus, communio, crypta, potestas, praedia sacra, forum or civilia jura vetantur per Senator Bennett per omnia saecula saeculorum. Deo gratias. Amen.

Unless he starts toeing the pro-free market Club for Growth line and renounces his demonstrated heretical socialist inclinations, Utah Senator Bob Bennett may be looking for a new job after the upcoming election cycle. Bennett, who had promised to serve only two terms when he got the job, has outspent his opponents 20 to one, and still doesn’t have a lock on his own seat. A Rasmussen Report election survey says about 37 percent of voters would support him, compared to 14 percent for challengers Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee. Candidate Merrill Cook, who lost his House seat to Jason Chaffetz in another “I’m more conservative than you”-upset a few years back, polled at six percent.

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Utah’s 2008 Election Results

Obama garnering more democratic votes in Utah than any other candidate since 1968, when Hubert Humphrey was on the ticket. 35 percent of the vote went to Obama while 65 percent went to McCain.

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The Election: Views from the Long Tail

Sarah Palin, Ms. Wasilla, circa 1984.  Easy on the eyes.

I was in Denver while the DNC was running its course but I literally steered clear of the main event. When the helicopters began circling like flies and cops with radar guns took up positions on every on/off ramp east of town, and the traffic slowed until it was stuck, I drove my rig out of the city on back roads. That was my DNC experience: avoiding it.

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Jim Tibbs Announces for Mayor of Boise


Nearly 50 supporters wearing Tibbs for Mayor buttons crowded the lobby of downtown’s Banner Bank building this morning as the former police chief, state drug czar and now city councilman said, “I am running for the office of Mayor of Boise City.” Tibbs' fans provided an enthusiastic whoop-and-applause response to make any politician proud.

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News from the Desert

A quick breakdown of Tuesday election results from Nevada

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Idaho Election Notes: WTH?

I really don’t know what the hell happened in Idaho yesterday, but have a few theories. A nation fed up with Bush, Iraq and Republican corruption rose up and said, “Hey, you Republican majority guys? Don’t let the Capitol doors hit you in the ass on the way out.” Idaho did not rise up. It whined, “I just can’t vote Democrat, I just CAN’T, even though I really can’t stand the Republican” and sat its ass back down. Idaho said, “I can tolerate the gays I guess, but letting them get married is sick and wrong,” passing HJR 2 63/37. But then Boise voters rejected a religious-right proposal to put up a Ten Commandments monument in Julia Davis Park. Idaho also said that out-of-state funding of Proposition 2, the eminent domain proposal, was just too much to take, and squashed it with a stunning 74% no. But then Idaho turned around and said that out-of-state funding from the Club for Growth to help elect Bill Sali to the U.S. House was GOOD, and elected Sali over Grant, 50/45. Idaho Republicans have talked about “running Idaho like a business” for years, but elected a State Controller without a degree or qualifications (but with an R by her name) over a Democrat with an MBA in finance and accounting and years of financial management experience: Donna Jones 59, Jackie Groves-Twilegar 41. The schizophrenic nature of Idaho voters played it fast and loose yesterday. Just a week ago, Idaho polls showed the governor’s race at a dead heat, and Larry Grant beating Bill Sali for the U.S. House seat. There were large numbers of undecided voters, but voter I.D. phone calls made by Democrats showed a majority of them were leaning left. Then as national returns started to come in last night, the tide was so strong that it seemed….surely the same thing would happen here, or some diluted version of it. But when it arrived, it was so diluted that the only effect was on a few races for the Statehouse, some county commissions, and a dogcatcher somewhere over in Minidoka County. Oh, okay, I made that last part up. Quite possibly, a lot of Idaho voters who answered poll questions were making things up, too. The Idaho Secretary of State’s website has just-about-final election results, with the exception of the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction between Tom Luna R and Jana Jones (D). That one isn’t official yet.

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Despite Election Day Liquor Ban I Got Served Gin!

Pursuant to Idaho code, it is unlawful “to transact the sale or delivery of any alcoholic liquor in, on, or from the premises of any state liquor store or distributing station on any national or state election day and on any municipal election day held in the municipality in which a store or distributing station may be situated during the time the polls are open.” This means most of Boise’s law-abiding bars, taverns, inns, saloons, clubs, and restaurants had their liquor locked up on Tuesday until the polls closed. The law is a remnant of Old West politics, when voting often took place in wet establishments rather than the local school gym. Ratifying the law kept people from buying votes with liquor. I am curious about this law, because what’s to stop someone from buying a bottle of Jack the day before and trading shots for votes in the parking lot outside the polling station?

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Congress: Time for a Reboot

Senator Conrad Burns shown marching in Missoula's Homecoming parade in October. photo by Bob Wire.

It’s Election Day at last, which means several things: An end to the phone calls reminding me to vote. An end to the juvenile, insulting, utterly predictable cycle of political ads. (“You’re a liar.” “No, YOU’RE a liar!” “Am not!” “Are TOO!” “You suck!” “No, YOU suck!”) An end to the huge, glossy postcards exhorting me to vote for this smiling candidate or that. Hey! That one caught a trout! I’m gonna vote for him. An end to canvassers showing up on my doorstep, handing me pamphlets and shaking my hand. Kind of makes me long for the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their comparatively entertaining ‘Watchtower’ leaflets.

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Think We Have Political Issues? Try 1857.

By Tuesday night, Oregonians statewide will have finished voting for mid-term candidates. Also, we will have answered “Yes or No” on ten measures concerning far ranging issues of tax law, private property, terms of office, medical responsibility for minors and more. The complexity of each measure, compounded by an insistent chorus of interested parties on opposing sides, makes wading through a Voters’ Pamphlet tedious. Why isn’t it simpler? Consider, for a moment, the simplicity of the Oregon Territory ballot of November 9, 1857. Just three simple Yes or No questions: Do you vote for the State Constitution? Do you vote for Slavery? Should Free Negroes be allowed in Oregon? Sound straight forward? Hardly. The United States was teetering on the brink of a civil war and, if the Oregon Territory earned statehood, the delicate balance of power in Washington would be upset. If results of the 1857 ballot are shocking to our modern sensibilities, the political conditions that lead up to these three simple measures are even more so…

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