Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Numbers Game

Well, I'm not surprised that before the weekend was over I'd hear a refrain I've heard before: in the Congressional District 1 race, the votes in north Idaho just aren't important. The only important votes are in Ada and Canyon counties. That really kind of irks me. Boundary County may not be statistically significant when compared to the Ada County or even Canyon county vote. But remember the words are "north Idaho." I guess one could argue over where north Idaho begins and ends, but I think you'd find that people in north Idaho are not so unaware.

So let's look at some numbers. In the last General Election in 2006, Larry Grant received 31,748 votes in Ada county and 16,459 votes in Canyon county, for a total of 48,207 votes. Now, let's put that against just the five northernmost counties: in Benewah, 1,131 votes; Bonner, 6,475 votes; Boundary, 1,276 votes; Kootenai, 15,874 votes; and Shoshone, 3,854 votes, for a total of 28,610 votes. Now that beats Canyon county and brings it close to Ada county. And if we add the other northern counties: Clearwater, 1,367; Idaho, 2,405; Latah, 7,087; and Nez Perce, 6,576, for a total of 17, 435 votes, and add that to the 28,610, we get 46,045 votes in north Idaho for Larry Grant. That is not a significant statistical difference from the 48,207 "important" votes that Ada and Canyon counties received.

It's true that many candidates find it difficult to travel all the way to Bonners Ferry, although they do manage to make it up to Sandpoint. We're kind of forgiving about that and we do make the almost one hour trek down to Sandpoint for those purposes. Heck, some of us even work in Bonner and Kootenai counties. But don't say that our vote doesn't count, because the numbers just don't add up.

Not only that, but we have had our own problems with growth and development over the past several years, especially since Sandoint was named, in several different prominent magazines, as one of the best places to live in the U.S. Couple that with property taxes, the second and out-of-state homes in our counties for which we receive no property taxes, and the 75% of federal and state owned land in Boundary County, and our problems are in many ways no different than the rest of the state. So our vote is just as important as that of the urban sprawl areas like Ada county!

Finally, if what this really happens to be about is who can sink the most money into this race, I think that the voters in District 1, like voters most everywhere in Idaho, are much more impressed with a personal knock on the door than an expense of money that most people do not have. Indeed, if money could buy a race, then Al Blinken would be a senator now. What I do know, however, is this: the north Idaho vote is important and we in the north know that. And that vote will be significant in the coming elections.

The Republican stronghold on north Idaho has lasted almost thirty years, but change is in the air. Indeed, today a Republican stopped by the business of our local Democratic co-chair and asked for an Obama bumper sticker. Oh yeah, do I feel good now!

5 comments:

Sisyphus said...

Well ma'am, Sali was pretty dismally received getting only 23% in the primary, but his sugar daddy, Club for Growth, gave him buckets of cash, as did the Republican Party. He used that to get him the win but still less than 50%. In the month or so before the election the vast majority of the voters still haven't made up there mind. Grant can't knock on enough doors in that limited amount of time. That's when you need help that only money can buy. Even a gazillion volunteers need coordinating. Lit drops, media buys, trained professionals, it all takes some money to do the lion's share of the work at the time when its most important.

IdahoRocks said...

True, money does help, especially when VP Cheney visits Coeur d'Alene! And the resident in the White House sends out his own robo-calls. So please visit the Grant for Congress website and make your contribution through ActBlue. And if you feel truly inspired, knock on some doors and participate in a lit drop (which we did in Boundary and Bonner counties). And one more idea, become a Neighborhood Leader, not just to help our party but to show your pride in being an Idaho Democrat.

Oh, and according to Parag Mehta from the DNC, that extra money for the Sali campaign cost the Republicans seats in both Ohio and Virginia....Indeed, Parag suggested that we all thank Grant for that litle gift. (Mentioned at the State CC meeting in Post Falls).

IdahoRocks said...

sorry, it should have read "share your pride...."

W. Lane Startin said...

I can't imagine how any Democrat could win the 1st CD without carrying Kootenai County, kind of in the same way a Democrat couldn't possibly win the in 2nd CD without Twin Falls County. Bonner should be right up there on the priority list too.

Nez Perce too. That should be a chip shot for any serious D.

IdahoRocks said...

Thank you. I haven't been south of Moscow often, but whenever I go some ignorant person gives me that same old story about the north not being important. All I can figure is that it must be true: ignorance is bliss.