Election Night live blog

1:47 a.m.: As we call it a wrap, for tonight, a few other odds and ends.

  • A $180 million College of Western Idaho bond issue fell short of a tall hurdle: a two-thirds supermajority in both Ada and Canyon counties. Ada County voters gave the proposal 59 percent support. In Canyon County, the proposal received only 49 percent support.
  • HJR 5, the constitutional amendment on agency rules review, appears headed for passage, with 55 percent support. Voters rejected a similar amendment two years ago.
  • Robyn Brody appears to be headed for a seat on the Supreme Court. She has 55 percent of the vote in tonight’s runoff election against state Sen. Curt McKenzie, a Nampa Republican who enjoyed considerable support from GOP circles.
  • In a back-and-forth legislative race in the Magic Valley’s legislative District 26, Rep. Steve Miller, R-Richfield, has moved out to about a 300-vote lead over Hailey Democrat Kathleen Eder. If this result holds, the GOP could push its House supermajority to 59-11, with the pickup of three seats.

1:16 a.m.: We’re still waiting for more legislative results, but at this hour, it appears the Republicans will net two additional House seats for the 2017 session.

Republicans are poised to pick up two House seats in legislative District 6, ousting House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, and winning the open legislative seat held by outgoing Rep. Dan Rudolph, D-Lewiston.

Republicans could pick up a House seat in legislative District 29, vacated by Rep. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello. Republican Dustin Manwaring is leading this open race. (Nye appears to be holding onto the district’s Senate seat, succeeding the retiring Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello.)

Democrats could pick up a seat in the Magic Valley’s competitive legislative District 26. Hailey Democrat Kathleen Eder is narrowly leading Rep. Steve Miller, R-Richfield, a two-term lawmaker who sits on the budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. But this race isn’t a done deal: Miller trails by less than 400 votes, and no numbers are in from Lincoln County.

Republicans held a 56-14 supermajority in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. If these changes hold, that majority would grow to 58-12.

It appears that the balance of power will be unchanged in the Senate, where the GOP holds a 28-7 edge. One Senate race still bears watching. Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, is trailing Republican Dan Foreman in the Benewah County portion of his district, but that deficit is offset, for now, by leads in Latah County.

12:41 a.m.: As a resident in Boise’s legislative District 16, I’ve been intrigued by the House race between Boise Democrat John McCrostie, a teacher, and Republican Joel Robinson, a software test engineer and volunteer chaplain.

Robinson has run a consciously low-fi campaign, blanketing the district with hand-painted campaign signs. McCrostie, a first-term lawmaker, was accused by another Republican candidate of stealing campaign literature.

McCrostie was re-elected Tuesday, with 54 percent of the vote. Elsewhere in District 16, Democratic Sen. Grant Burgoyne was re-elected, and Democratic Rep. Hy Kloc ran unopposed.

12:07 a.m.: West Boise’s legislative District 15 is one of Idaho’s rare battleground districts. Republicans hold the district’s three seats, but Democrats have been hoping to break through this last GOP stronghold in the capital city.

Based on the latest Ada County returns, Republicans appear to have held the district. With 15 out of 15 precincts reporting, GOP Rep. Lynn Luker has won a see-saw rematch against Democrat Steve Berch, collecting 51 percent of the vote. Sen. Fred Martin and Rep. Patrick McDonald also were re-elected, with 56 percent of the vote.

11:53 p.m.: As the legislative election results start to roll in, several incumbents are in trouble.

Topping that list is House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston. With all of Nez Perce County’s numbers in, Republican Mike Kingsley has 56 percent of the county’s vote. The area’s legislative District 6 also takes in rural Lewis County.

Rusche narrowly defeated Kingsley in 2014.

According to the latest statewide numbers, with 496 precincts in, four other incumbent lawmakers are trailing. The list includes Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer; Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise; and Rep. Steve Miller, R-Fairfield. These are incomplete numbers, particularly from District 5, where Schmidt and Jordan serve.

10:39 p.m.: With 270 of 962 precincts in, HJR 5 has now flipped. The controversial constitutional amendment on rules review is now leading, with 53 percent support.

Again, the recap: This obscure constitutional amendment on rules review has divided many of Idaho’s political leaders. The Legislature overwhelmingly passed HJR 5 this year, on a bipartisan vote. Sen. Jim Risch and Lt. Gov. Brad Little support HJR 5, and a cadre of business and agricultural groups has contributed to a pro-HJR 5 campaign. Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden oppose HJR 5.

In a nutshell, HJR 5 would ensure legislators retain the power to review, and reject, state agency rules. They already have that power, and legislators want that power ingrained into the state Constitution.

10:24 p.m.: Democrats have taken a concerted run at first-term Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, an outspoken conservative who has made waves on hot-button topics such as child support enforcement.

Based on the early numbers out of North Idaho’s District 1, Democrats haven’t made any headway. Scott has 73 percent support over Sandpoint Democrat Kate McAllister.

10:14 p.m.: A quick look into the higher education bailiwick. Voters in Ada and Canyon counties will decide tonight on an ambitious $180 million bond issue to expand the College of Western Idaho. The proposal has 60 percent support in Ada County, based on early results. No numbers yet in Canyon County — where the proposal would figure to have more trouble with a conservative electorate.

In order to pass, this bond issue needs two-thirds support in each county.

10:07 p.m.: At this point, one hour into the vote count statewide, two incumbent legislators are trailing: Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, facing Boise Democrat Steve Berch in a rematch election; and Rep. Steve Miller, R-Richfield, who is trailing to Hailey Democrat Kathleen Eder.

9:51 p.m.: With 65 of 962 precincts in statewide, HJR 5 is trailing. Fifty-four percent of voters have said no, in the early returns.

9:17 p.m.: The secretary of state’s office has posted the very earliest Idaho numbers: just 12 of 962 precincts in. Four incumbent Republican legislators are trailing: Sen. Fred Martin and Reps. Lynn Luker and Patrick McDonald, all of Boise; and Rep. Steve Miller of Richfield.

Again, these are very preliminary numbers. How preliminary? Democrat Hillary Clinton is leading Republican Donald Trump in the early Idaho numbers — and the networks are already projecting Idaho for Trump. And Democrat Jennifer Martinez is leading U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson in these early numbers. A long way to go.

8:58 p.m.: Good evening, all, and welcome to the Election Night live blog. Idaho polls will close at 9 p.m. And then we’ll start analyzing the numbers and the election impacts — with an eye to education, of course. And if you’re in the Treasure Valley, watch KIVI Channel 6, where I’ll be providing election analysis.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday