will cast ballots in primary races for local, state and federal offices
next Tuesday, May 28.
important not to forget the primary, which is the day after the Memorial
Day holiday. Low voter turnouts traditionally have plagued the primary
election. However, two races are on the line for keeps.
Democrats are vying for a seat on the Blaine County Commission, with no
one from another party set to run in the fall. A seat on the Idaho Supreme
Court is also up for grabs.
a dearth of information on most candidates out there. In considering
endorsements in the contested races for state and federal offices, the
Express looked for competent and well-qualified candidates who could be
strong campaigners and who represent their party’s priorities.
Dirk Kempthorne—who else but the incumbent? He’s been writing
the GOP play book for the last four years. Challengers reflect disgruntled
factions within the GOP, whose tent is bulging at the seams and
threatening to rip.
Governor: Jack Riggs—appointed by Kempthorne, the Couer d’Alene
physician is in his first race for the part-time office. The field of six
candidates is notable for its solid defense of this year’s budget cuts
for education. Riggs strongest challenge is from veteran legislators, but
he’s brought a quiet steadiness to this obscure office that is
of State: Ben Ysursa—deputy to Pete Cenarrusa, the man who’s
owned the job for 30 years, is the clear choice in this race. Ysursa comes
with Cenarrusa’s endorsement.
General: Lawrence Wasden—chief of staff for outgoing Attorney
General Al Lance, Wasden is cut from the same cloth. He wants to continue
the office’s push for consumer protection and control over water in the
Keith Johnson—another "deputy" candidate who worked for
retiring controller J.D. Williams, seems better qualified for the job than
two former legislators who oppose him.
Court Justice: Linda
Copple Trout—no reason to retire Idaho’s first female justice who
was elected in 1992. She’s dedicated herself to improving the legal
system in Idaho and her list of accomplishments is enormous. She has
brought to the bench what a good judge should bring—deep knowledge of
the law, care and concern about the impact of decisions, and an even hand.
Senate: Alan Blinken—this Wood River resident and former
ambassador to Belgium has not only undertaken a challenge to incumbent
Sen. Larry Craig, his campaign is trying to revitalize Democrats and give
Idaho the chance to return to a two-party state. That’s a chance
beleaguered Dems won’t want to pass up.
man has no peer in this race. Bright and articulate, with a scholar’s
reserve, he’s the clear choice to carry the Democrats’ banner into the
general election. His campaign was visible from the start and he’ll be a
contender in November.
Governor: Karl Shurtliff—a civil, administrative and criminal
attorney who brings experience on the Idaho State Board of Education to
the race. He’s focused on re-examining the state of education funding
and finding out why Idaho has one of the highest percentages of prison
inmates in the nation.
County Commissioner: Dennis Wright—this incumbent says he is
running for the last time. He has two primary differences with challenger
Jim Super. Super favors hiring a county administrator for day-to-day
responsibilities, which would free commissioners to set policy. We agree.
Wright does not, and says he can’t figure out what an administrator
would do. Wright views his job as a defender of the public interest, while
Super views it as an opportunity to shape public policy. Both say the
county needs strong planning and zoning, protection for open space and
agriculture, a valley-wide transportation system and affordable housing.
The kicker? Even though he served on the Emmett City Council, Super has
not been involved in government in Blaine County. Thus, the nod to Wright.
On the other hand, it’s unlikely Super would emulate Wright, who posted
a list of names by his desk in his public office for most of his term. The
names were of people who supported his opponent in the last election.