Politics: Primary contests heating up

by Judy Ferro

Guess what’s coming up May 17.

The primary elections! You knew that, right?

That means candidates are trying to reach you right now—though some seem to think osmosis will do.

The hottest race involves all of us: the non-partisan contest with Sergio Gutierrez, Curt McKenzie, Robyn Brody, and Clive Strong vying for Supreme Court justice. For a lot of voters the most information they will see is the April 20th newspaper coverage of a two-hour forum sponsored by the Idaho Bar Association. Interestingly, Gutierrez is the only judge; the other three are lawyers with varying areas of experience.

Incumbent Molley Huskey is the only candidate for the Appellate Court position.

For those voting in the Democratic primary, the most competitive race is for the nomination for U.S. Representative from Idaho’s First Congressional District. Boise lawyer James Piotrowski has campaigned enthusiastically in Canyon County and plans to attend a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Canyon County Democrat’s office at 1104 Blaine, Caldwell. An environmental activist, he wants to see that public lands continue to be managed for the benefit of all. He is also a strong supporter of education and of employee rights.

Staniela Nikolova is biology student at the University of Idaho. Her website outlines her stands on nine major issues, including student debt, healthcare, and criminal justice. She calls for public discussion on genetic engineering.

Shizandra Fox is a certified diet counsellor in Sonoma, CA, who may have wanted to ensure that some Democrat would oppose Rep. Labrador. Or, possibly, she just wants to say she has run for Congress. .

Boise businessman Jerry Sturgill is unopposed in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Mike Crapo. The Canyon County Democratic legislative nominations are also uncontested.

The Republican races for county offices have candidates with familiar names and verifiable experience. I believe all three candidates for sheriff–Kieran Donahue, Albert Erickson, and Tony Thompson—are good men. I imagine voters will decide on the basis of their administrative vision and ability.

As an incumbent county commissioner, Craig Hanson has been determined to spend tax money on a new jail opposed by the voters and the sheriff. Fortunately, voters will have a choice. Nampa City Councilwoman Pam White is also running.

A forum at 7 p.m. next Monday at Caldwell High School will feature Republican candidates for sheriff and commissioner.

Websites indicate that Republican candidates for legislative positions are far more partisan, concerned with God, guns and vaginas rather than Idaho issues. Laughably, one candidate’s pages on issues features one word answers—yes or no—rather than dealing with any complexities.

Surprisingly, only one Republican is now running for the open seat left by Sen. Curt McKenzie. The contested contest in District 13 (south Nampa) is between Gary Collins and Alan Jones.

District 11, on the other hand, has five Republicans vying for nomination for the House seat vacated by Gayle Batt; only two of the names are familiar to me. In addition, both of the district’s other seats have at least one challenger.

Unfortunately, only two of these nine candidates have websites listed on the Secretary of State’s Primary Candidate information page; four have submitted statements. You’d think that candidates running in a district that includes almost all of Canyon County outside of Nampa, Caldwell, and Parma would reach as many as possible on-line.

One can hope they put more effort into communicating at the forum at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Nampa City Hall. Republicans for contested races in districts 11 and 13 are participating.

Vote.