Election 2010: The Carnage


While shaking off the Election Night hangover, Citydesk pulled out its notes from its statewide election preview to see if what voters warned us about bore some reality.

In Idaho's panhandle where we were told, "challengers don't cut ribbons," referring to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's frequent visits to break ground or open new businesses, Otter—who lost in Bonner and Shoshone counties in the last election—won big. Otter won by a huge 32 percent margin in Bonner County and by 22 percent in Shoshone County.

In North Central Idaho, where locals told us that they were ready for an alternative, but weren't familiar enough with challenger Keith Allred or his platform, voters handed Otter another big win in Nez Perce County by nearly 3,000 votes. Otter had previously lost Nez Perce County, as had his Republican predecessor Dirk Kempthorne.

In Southwest Idaho, you don't have look beyond Ada County, where Otter once again won big in a region where he had previously lost. Otter won Ada by a 14 percent margin. In Canyon County, Otter won huge by a 43 percent margin.

In Central Idaho, Allred found a bit of good news. He won Blaine County, but only by 1,300 votes.

In the Magic Valley, Allred lost the battle of what voters called "cowboy one-upmanship." He lost big. In Allred's home base of Twin Falls County, Otter swamped Allred by nearly 6,000 votes.

And In Eastern Idaho, where LDS Republicans told us that indeed faith matters, Allred lost Bannock County by only 2 percent of the vote. A number of voters, who said they were Mormons and Republicans, told us they were voting for Allred, but had hoped that the candidate would have been a bit more public about the importance of his membership in the LDS church.

In the legislature, there were several big gains by Republicans. In the Treasure Valley, Republican Julie Ellsworth squeaked a win (nine votes) to claim House Seat A in District 18. A recount is expected, but if Ellsworth's win holds, that's a net gain for the GOP. Ellsworth won the seat previously held by Rep. Branden Durst, who ran for the State Senate in the same district. Bad move. He lost to Republican Mitch Toryanksi for the seat previously held by Kate Kelly. Another net gain for Republicans.

The Democrats had a bit of good news to stop the bleeding. Up in Latah County, Democratic newcomer Dan Schmidt won the seat previously held by Republican Rep. Gary Schroeder.

Overall, only 13 Democrats remain in the Idaho House, compared to 57 Republicans. In the Idaho Senate, there will be seven Democrats to face off with 28 Republicans.