Some weeks, digging up the 350-ish words it takes to fill this space feels like pulling 350 teeth. Not so this week. First, when this publishes Wednesday, May 21, it will be a day after the May 20 GOP primary election, and we'll be parsing whether it was a victory for the Tea Party or the establishment wing of the Republican Party. If I had to bet, I'd say incumbents will have a strong showing--especially in the governor's race and, in large part, because of the shocking and bizarre primary debate, video of which took the Internet by storm. Featuring unhinged candidates Harley Brown, dressed like George R.R. Martin if the Dothraki rode motorcycles, and Walt Bayes, a Bible-quoting, arm flailing anti-abortion crusader who looked like a Loony Toons caricature of a hillbilly, footage from the May 14 debate went viral overnight.
Meridian Republican Sen. Russ Fulcher, who is challenging Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, immediately complained that Otter's insistence that Brown and Bayes take part turned the event into a "mockery" of both the state and the GOP. That's true, but only because the hard reality is that Bayes actually belonged there--at least in substance. Wildly gesticulating and denouncing "Eastern idiots," Bayes called for Idaho to take over management of federal lands (Article X of the Idaho GOP platform), lift all hunting regulations (Article XI, Section 2 of the platform), kill wolves (Article XI, Sec. 3), protect "traditional" marriage from same-sex unions (Article XIV, Sec. 2) and oppose abortion (Article XIV, Sec. 3).
These are, presumably, things that Otter and Fulcher also believe (who knows what's rattling around in Brown's head), which leads me to believe that when it comes to Bayes, his only "mockery" was of the dress code and current beard fashion (the latter is up for debate).
Moving on from the debates, we have the emotional rollercoaster of Idaho's same-sex marriage ban, which was struck down by federal Judge Candy Dale on May 13. What was jubilation that same-sex marriages would be legal starting May 15 turned to disappointment as news broke that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had granted Otter's request for a temporary stay of the ruling. Read more on Page 11.
On Page 13, you'll find our annual Summer Guide--along with a smattering of summer-themed articles throughout the paper--but on Page 12, there's one thing you won't find after this week: comic strip The City, by Derf, is going away. The artist is retiring to focus on graphic novels; but we're replacing The City with Jen Sorenson, who has won a boatload of awards. Her strip will begin May 28.