Election detection: Women ascend

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Republican Tim Kastning was behind Janice McGeachin all the way on Election Day. DUANE RASMUSSEN/Courtesy photo

Can’t speak for you, but Tuesday’s elections are still all tangled up in my head.

Note that I said elections, plural, because here in a state so red you have to view it through solar eclipse glasses, there really were two voting exercises.

There was the local, ritual flogging of all Democrats, but then you had some races going on in the rest of the country.

I know it seems crazy, but the “other” United States really can matter to us occasionally.

Hey, what if Canadians storm the border?

Out there in that foreign America, the big story was Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives — but there might actually have been a more important trend that we’ll see again and again going forward.

Women.

THAT IS, more women ran for state and national office, and more women won races than we’ve ever encountered in the past.

They included two Muslims and an openly lesbian Native American (who won a congressional seat in Kansas, of all places).

Last February, I wrote a column suggesting that men had screwed up power and politics long enough, and maybe we should give women a chance to run things.

It was semi-serious, so I’m kind of pleased that a lot of women in both major parties held victory celebrations on Tuesday night.

In Arizona, two women fought it out — pretty viciously — for the right to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, and the GOP leads the still-being counted vote by a whisker.

Oops ...

Sorry, ladies.

It is by the width of an eyebrow pencil.

Look, women comprise 51 percent of the country’s population. They should have a lot more say in the nation’s affairs.

Thus ...

Congratulations to all of them, even the women who ran and lost — because campaigning is brutally tough on candidates and their families. These ladies all should be applauded.

WE HAD our own all-female races, as Janice McGeachin will become the state’s first woman lieutenant governor by virtue of her win over Kristin Collum — and Cindy Wilson almost struck a tiny blow for Idaho Democrats by taking Sherri Ybarra right to the wire in their duel for state superintendent of instruction.

Paulette Jordan couldn’t make the governor’s race very competitive against Brad Little, but I don’t suspect anyone thought she would.

Jordan may have learned a lot in that race, however (she did far better toward the end), and she says her days in the public arena are not over.

Meanwhile, North Idaho is now perhaps the reddest area of the state, if you don’t include some rural district with 23 people and six dogs.

No Democrat even came close to winning here. Rebecca Schroeder was the most combative, losing to Jim Addis in District 4 by 13 percentage points.

And look, that’s still a thumping.

I suspect the influx of mega-conservative California retirees has turned Kootenai County from simply very conservative to just one big Republican backyard barbecue.

PROOF?

Well, Proposition 2 — the initiative to expand Medicaid to the “working poor” throughout the state — won big, big, big across Idaho.

The proposition carried with 60.6 percent of the vote.

But here?

Despite a huge swell of momentum for Prop 2, it survived in Kootenai County by just 499 votes out of 56,249 ballots cast, or less than 1 percent.

I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing — that’s the joy of a democracy — but North Idaho is now so red that I wonder if Republican candidates should even bother campaigning here.

That would be like spending time with your own staff instead of hitting the stump in areas where you might face some opposition.

Nonetheless ...

I agree with Press Editor Mike Patrick, who said flatly that Proposition 2 was the single most important issue on our statewide ballot.

It was, and Idaho did the right thing.

Even better, Little has said he will respect the will of the people — so presumably there will be no attempt to repeal it, and thank heaven for that.

Turning on your own citizens is a bad idea.

Finally, to wrap up a wild campaign, I’m proud to say that I got at least one write-in vote for county assessor — and it wasn’t my own.

Maybe you missed my concession speech to Rich Houser.

Great race, Rich, and you’re welcome to all that aggravation.

I’ve got enough right here.

• • •

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press who believes that politics is like sports. No whining if you lose. Your opponent was just better this time.

A Brand New Day appears from Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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