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For the week of May 17 through May 23, 2000

Express primary election endorsements

Voters should not underestimate the importance of the primary election next Tuesday.

The choice of a justice for the Idaho Supreme Court will be final.

Here are our picks in the judicial race and the contested state and local primary races:


For Idaho Supreme Court Justice, Cathy Silak: Idaho’s radical right wing has tried with all its might to make a non-partisan race very partisan indeed.

Why? Silak authored three controversial opinions, on water rights, school funding and employer liability. She is a swing vote on some issues that Idaho right-wingers would like to swing their way.

In seven years on the court, Silak has done a good job. She is no ideologue. She is a smart, measured justice.

Challenger Fourth District Judge Daniel Eismann has campaigned like a partisan. He campaigned at Republican events. He answered specific controversial questions posed by the Christian Coalition and gave some controversial answers.

We like judges who read the law without looking over their shoulders to see who they might please or offend. Silak meets that critical test.


For U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District, Democratic Party, No endorsement: Jack Wayne Chappell and Craig Williams are running under-funded place-holder campaigns for the honor of running against popular Republican Rep. Mike Simpson in the fall. Flip a coin.


For Blaine County Commissioner, District 1 (South County), Democratic Party, Dennis Wright: After four years, Wright has a depth of experience in county matters that voters shouldn’t dismiss easily. The former mayor of Bellevue is a quiet man who keeps his own counsel. He’s got a strong grasp of the issues facing the county and should be the Democrats’ choice.

Challenger Rob Peck of Carey, who served on the Blaine County School Board, could be a good choice for the future, especially if he gets a little more grounding on growth issues.


Blaine County Commissioner, District 3 (North County), Democratic Party, Sarah Michael: This open seat attracted two fine candidates, Michael and Sally Donart.

It’s a tough call. Their primary disagreement is over the St. Luke’s medical office building. Michael is an unabashed supporter, while Donart says it’s too big. We disagree with Michael on this important issue, but otherwise believe she will be a strong leader.

Both want to look at ways to reduce traffic on Highway 75, oppose commercial sprawl, want to go slow with subdivision of agricultural lands, want to control development of lands put into private ownership by the BLM, and favor alleviating some of the heavy work load now on the commissioners.

The two differ mostly in matters of style. Donart says she will act as a mediator and steward. Michael’s government and lobbyist background make her a vigorous researcher who is unafraid to try on new solutions. Her clear positions and considerable powers of persuasion would serve the county well.


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