Kevin’s election night live blog: final update, 6:54 a.m.

(UPDATED, 11:48 a.m., to correct GOP House majority in the Legislature.)

6:54 a.m.: Let’s sweep up the unfinished business we had at 1:43 a.m., race by race.

SJR 102

The closest statewide race remains close.

A narrow statewide majority supported Senate Joint Resolution 102, which would allow the Legislature to call itself back into session.

The amendment now has 51% support — representing a margin of about 5,400 votes out of more than 479,000 ballots counted.

Still outstanding: Most results in Kootenai County, and partial results in Bonner County.

Legislature

With the smoke cleared in Idaho’s four swing legislative districts, we finally have final results.

Republicans flipped the Senate seat in the Moscow area swing district, District 6. But Democrats grabbed the Senate seat in West Boise’s District 15.

Democrats swept three seats in District 26, which stretches from the Magic Valley into Blaine County.

In the Pocatello area’s District 29, Democrats rallied to hold their ground. Originally, it appeared that the GOP would sweep District 29, but after elections officials counted remaining absentee and early ballots, Democrats held the Senate seat and one of the two House seats. (Details from our friends at “Idaho Reports.”)

When the Legislature convenes in January, Republicans will retain 28 of 35 Senate seats. With the one-seat flip in District 26, the GOP’s House supermajority shrinks slightly, but Republicans will still hold 57 of 70 seats.

The final numbers:

District 6. Senate (GOP pickup): Dan Foreman, GOP, 50%; David Nelson, Dem (incumbent), 48%; James Hartley, Con, 2%. House Seat A (GOP hold): Lori McCann, GOP (incumbent), 59%, Trish Carter-Goodheart, Dem, 41%. House Seat B (GOP hold): Brandon Mitchell, GOP (incumbent), 56%; Tim Gresback, Dem, 44%.

District 15. Senate (Dem pickup): Rick Just, Dem, 50%; Codi Galloway, GOP (House member), 48%; Sarah Clendenon, Con, 2%. House Seat A (Dem hold): Steve Berch, Dem (incumbent), 53%; Steve Keyser, GOP, 47%. House Seat B (GOP hold): Dori Healey, GOP, 53%; Jeff Nafsinger, Dem, 47%.

District 26. Senate (Dem hold): Ron Taylor, Dem, 53%; Laurie Lickley, GOP (House member), 47%. House Seat A (Dem hold): Ned Burns, Dem (incumbent), 52%; Mike Pohanka, GOP, 48%. House Seat B (Dem hold): Karma Metzler Fitzgerald, Democrat, 51%; Jack Nelsen, GOP, 49%.

District 29. Senate (Dem hold): James Ruchti, Dem (House member), 54%, David Worley, GOP, 46%. House Seat A (GOP hold): Dustin Manwaring, GOP (incumbent), 52%; Mary Shea, Dem, 48%. House Seat B (Dem hold): Nate Roberts, Dem, 50.3%; Jake Stevens, GOP, 49.7%.

College of Western Idaho

The final numbers only changed the margins slightly. A ticket of three incumbent CWI trustees and their running mate won easily.

The slate soundly defeated a ticket of challengers who ran in the nonpartisan election as a Republican ticket.

The final numbers from Ada and Canyon counties:

  • Zone 1: Nicole Bradshaw, 105,485, 64%; Alisha Hickman, 58,754, 36%.
  • Zone 2: Molly Lenty (incumbent), 85,238, 52%; Ryan Spoon, 41,705, 25%; Gordon Simpson, 36,660, 22%.
  • Zone 3: Jim Reames (incumbent), 92,609, 57%; Jan Allan Zarr, 68,778, 43%.
  • Zone 4: Annie Pelletier Hightower (incumbent), 102,089, 63%; Thad Butterworth, 60,546, 37%.

Expect the incumbents and the lone holdover — Zone 5 trustee Cherie Buckner-Webb — to more or less stay the course at the state’s largest community college.

North Idaho College

No news yet. In fact, we have no new numbers since our 12:59 a.m. post, when Kootenai County posted results from early voting:

  • Zone 1: Tarie Zimmerman, 2,344, 52%; Ronald Hartman, 2,117, 48%.
  • Zone 2: Brad Corkill, 2,321, 52%; Diana Sheridan, 2,141, 48%.
  • Zone 5: Mike Waggoner, 2,285, 52%; Pete Broschet (incumbent), 2,123, 48%.

That would be a split, but it would shift the balance of power. Waggoner is endorsed by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, and would figure to align with GOP-favored incumbents Todd Banducci and Greg McKenzie. But it’s still really early.

1:43 a.m.: It feels like we’re at a stopping point, as we wait on more numbers. So I’m signing off for a few hours, and I’ll be back at about 6 a.m.

Here’s what’s still up in the air:

  • Senate Joint Resolution 102, the constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to call itself back into session. At this hour, SJR 102 is passing by just 439 votes — out of nearly 440,000 votes counted.
  • Several races in swing legislative districts, including four that could shift the balance of power in the Senate GOP caucus.
  • North Idaho College trustee races, with numbers just starting to come in.
  • College of Western Idaho trustee races, although the margins in those four races could be insurmountable.

So, come back in a few hours, and I’ll update this blog. Later Wednesday, I’ll have a full analysis story breaking down the results. And I’ll be on Boise State Public Radio’s “Idaho Matters” at noon to talk about the results.

Thanks for reading.

1:12 a.m.: Important update and correction. The District 29 legislative races aren’t final yet.

The secretary of state’s office is now saying 51 of the county’s 57 precincts are counted. (The secretary of state’s office had previously reporting all 57 precincts were counted.)

So, a potential GOP Senate pickup and a GOP House pickup is not yet official.

12:59 a.m.: The College of Western Idaho trustee races are holding steady — with a ticket of three incumbents and their running mate leading handily.

The current numbers:

  • Zone 1: Nicole Bradshaw, 98,617, 64%; Alisha Hickman, 54,406, 36%.
  • Zone 2: Molly Lenty (incumbent), 80,263, 53%; Ryan Spoon, 38,322, 25%; Gordon Simpson, 33,905, 22%.
  • Zone 3: Jim Reames (incumbent), 86,570, 58%; Jan Allan Zarr, 63,835, 42%.
  • Zone 4: Annie Pelletier Hightower (incumbent), 95,802, 63%; Thad Butterworth, 55,811, 37%.

We’re starting to get very early numbers from early voting in Kootenai County, where three heated North Idaho College trustee races are on the ballot.

The first look at the numbers:

  • Zone 1: Tarie Zimmerman, 2,344, 52%; Ronald Hartman, 2,117, 48%.
  • Zone 2: Brad Corkill, 2,321, 52%; Diana Sheridan, 2,141, 48%.
  • Zone 5: Mike Waggoner, 2,285, 52%; Pete Broschet (incumbent), 2,123, 48%.

12:30 a.m.: We can update the legislative results, with a couple of pickups for the GOP.

Republicans have captured a Senate seat and a House seat in one swing district, the Pocatello area’s District 29. Vote tallies are final in Bannock County.

Meanwhile, Republicans could flip the Senate seat the Moscow area swing district, District 6.

Democrats, meanwhile, are in line to grab a Senate seat in two other swing districts:

West Boise’s District 15, and District 26, which stretches from the Magic Valley into Blaine County.

The current numbers:

District 6

Senate: Dan Foreman, GOP, 53%; David Nelson, Dem (incumbent), 46%; James Hartley, Con, 1%. Potential GOP pickup.

House Seat A: Lori McCann, GOP (incumbent), 61%, Trish Carter-Goodheart, Dem, 39%. Potential GOP hold.

House Seat B: Brandon Mitchell, GOP (incumbent), 58%; Tim Gresback, Dem, 42%. Potential GOP hold.

However, we’re still waiting on complete numbers from Latah County, generally a Democratic stronghold.

District 15

Senate: Rick Just, Dem, 50%; Codi Galloway, GOP (House member), 48%; Sarah Clendenon, Con, 2%. Potential Dem pickup.

House Seat A: Steve Berch, Dem (incumbent), 53%; Steve Keyser, GOP, 47%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat B: Dori Healey, GOP, 53%; Jeff Nafsinger, Dem, 47%. Potential GOP hold.

Nineteen of the district’s 20 precincts are fully counted.

District 26

Senate: Ron Taylor, Dem, 58%; Laurie Lickley, GOP (House member), 42%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat A: Ned Burns, Dem (incumbent), 56%; Mike Pohanka, GOP, 44%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat B: Karma Metzler Fitzgerald, Dem, 56%; Jack Nelsen, GOP, 44%. Potential Dem pickup.

Numbers are sketchy. Fifteen of Blaine County’s 16 precincts are in, and Democrats are carrying the county. Republican Lincoln County is fully counted. No results are in from Jerome County, which figures to favor the GOP.

District 29

Senate: David Worley, GOP, 53%; James Ruchti, Dem (House member), 47%. GOP pickup.

House Seat A: Dustin Manwaring, GOP (incumbent), 60%; Mary Shea, Dem, 40%. GOP hold.

House Seat B: Jake Stevens, GOP, 57%; Nate Roberts, Dem, 43%. GOP pickup.

All of Bannock County’s 57 precincts are in, according to the secretary of state’s office.

11:48 p.m.: The College of Western Idaho trustee races have narrowed a bit — but three incumbents and their running mate are still holding considerable leads.

The current numbers:

  • Zone 1: Nicole Bradshaw, 80,232, 64%; Alisha Hickman, 44,952, 36%.
  • Zone 2: Molly Lenty (incumbent), 64,433, 52%; Ryan Spoon, 31,981, 26%; Gordon Simpson, 28,302, 23%.
  • Zone 3: Jim Reames (incumbent), 70,283, 57%; Jan Zarr, 52,638, 43%.
  • Zone 4: Annie Hightower (incumbent), 77,473, 62%; Thad Butterworth, 46,554, 34%.

No numbers yet from Kootenai County, where three heated North Idaho College trustee races are on the ballot.

11:25 p.m.: Let’s take a moment to look at the margin in the state superintendent’s race.

Four years ago, this is the statewide race that had us up until 5 a.m., waiting on numbers from Kootenai County.

Tonight, it’s Republican Debbie Critchfield in a landslide. Currently at 68%, she is outpolling Gov. Brad Little, lieutenant governor’s candidate Scott Bedke, attorney general’s candidate Raúl Labrador and incumbent Controller Brandon Woolf. That’s a pretty strong mandate for a new officeholder.

I’d argue that Democrat Terry Gilbert wasn’t as strong a candidate as 2018 Democratic candidate Cindy Wilson. But by the same token, Critchfield ran a much stronger and more energetic campaign than we ever saw from Sherri Ybarra.

Critchfield’s blowout win is no accident.

11:07 p.m.: Let’s look at some early legislative results.

The closest race on the board is one we figured we’d be watching: the Senate race in the Moscow area swing district, District 6. Former state Sen. Dan Foreman, a Republican from Viola, is leading Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow, by a scant 12 votes.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening in the four swing legislative districts: District 6; West Boise’s District 15; District 26, which stretches from the Magic Valley into Blaine County; and the Pocatello area District 29. Perhaps not surprisingly, these are the only districts at this hour where there are potential Republican or Democratic pickups.

District 6

Senate: Dan Foreman, GOP, 49%; David Nelson, Dem (incumbent), 49%; James Hartley, Con, 1%. Potential GOP pickup.

House Seat A: Lori McCann, GOP (incumbent), 58%, Trish Carter-Goodheart, Dem, 42%. Potential GOP hold.

House Seat B: Brandon Mitchell, GOP (incumbent), 55%; Tim Gresback, Dem, 45%. Potential GOP hold.

District 15

Senate: Rick Just, Dem, 51%; Codi Galloway, GOP (House member), 47%; Sarah Clendenon, Con, 2%. Potential Dem pickup.

House Seat A: Steve Berch, Dem (incumbent), 54%; Steve Keyser, GOP, 46%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat B: Dori Healey, GOP, 51%; Jeff Nafsinger, Dem, 49%. Potential GOP hold.

District 26

Senate: Ron Taylor, Dem, 67%; Laurie Lickley, GOP (House member), 33%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat A: Ned Burns, Dem (incumbent), 66%; Mike Pohanka, GOP, 34%. Potential Dem hold.

House Seat B: Karma Metzler Fitzgerald, Dem, 62%; Jack Nelsen, GOP, 38%. Potential Dem pickup.

District 29

Senate: David Worley, GOP, 52%; James Ruchti, Dem (House member), 48%. Potential GOP pickup.

House Seat A: Dustin Manwaring, GOP (incumbent), 60%; Mary Shea, Dem, 40%. Potential GOP hold.

House Seat B: Jake Stevens, GOP, 56%; Nate Roberts, Dem, 44%. Potential GOP pickup.

10:27 p.m.: In some early numbers, incumbents are winning handily in those heated College of Western Idaho trustee elections.

The early numbers:

  • Zone 1: Nicole Bradshaw, 48,969, 66%; Alisha Hickman, 24,845, 34%.
  • Zone 2: Molly Lenty (incumbent), 40,791, 55%; Ryan Spoon, 16,816, 23%; Gordon Simpson, 16,015, 22%.
  • Zone 3: Jim Reames (incumbent), 42,974, 59%; Jan Zarr, 29,599, 41%.
  • Zone 4: Annie Hightower (incumbent), 48,447, 66%; Thad Butterworth, 24,876, 34%.

It’s early, so I’ll keep tabulating these numbers through the night.

10:06 p.m.: A couple of snippets from Gov. Brad Little’s speech at the Republicans’ election night party, from Idaho EdNews reporter Sadie Dittenber.

  • “We’re ready to keep Idaho the least regulated state, we’re ready to release innovation. … We’re ready to provide Idahoans with more relief from taxes.”
  • Little pledged to “make Idaho the best possible place for our children and grandchildren to choose to stay.”

Little is currently running at 60% support, exactly where he was in November 2018. Democrat Stephen Heidt is at 26% and independent Ammon Bundy is sitting at 12%. I’m still curious to see if Bundy’s numbers click upward, and Little’s numbers tick downward, as we get more results from North Idaho.

9:14 p.m.: In one of those news releases that was sitting in drafts ahead of time, the Republican Governors Association wasted no time hailing Gov. Brad Little’s re-election.

The email hit my inbox at 9:04 p.m., four minutes after polls closed in Idaho.

Here’s the statement from the RGA’s co-chairs, outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.

“Governor Brad Little is leading Idaho to a bright and prosperous future thanks to his commonsense solutions like record tax cuts that have unleashed unprecedented economic growth. A third generation Idahoan, Governor Little knows what matters to families across the state, and we look forward to working with him while he continues to put his constituents first. Congratulations, Governor Little!”

Little’s win is no surprise, of course. I’m still going to be interested in the margin — and independent candidate Ammon Bundy’s showing. The magic number is 59.8%, Little’s vote percentage in 2018, when he won what was essentially a two-person race against Democrat Paulette Jordan.

9:03 p.m. Idaho polls are just closing. CNN is already projecting Republican Sen. Mike Crapo and Gov. Brad Little will be re-elected.

Idaho’s time on CNN ends as soon as it starts.

8:49 p.m.: From our friends at “Idaho Reports:” We could be waiting a while — maybe several hours — before we see numbers in those hotly contested North Idaho College trustee elections.

First off, Kootenai County is in the Pacific time zone, so the polls won’t close until 9 p.m. MST. On top of that, turnout is high, and a competitive write-in candidate is running for county assessor, according to “Idaho Reports.”

That means numbers from Kootenai County might not come in until after midnight.

This isn’t new territory. Four years ago, we were waiting on Kootenai County, for the results that tipped the state superintendent’s race in Republican Sherri Ybarra’s favor. We could be waiting on Kootenai County tonight — on a different race with education implications.

7:00 p.m.: Hello, and welcome to tonight’s election night live blog. We won’t have a lot of news here until about 9 p.m. MST (8 p.m. PST), when the Idaho polls close for the night.

In no particular order, I’ll be watching several races closely:

  • The state superintendent’s race.
  • The governor’s race (I’ll be interested in Gov. Brad Little’s vote totals, relative to 2018, and independent Ammon Bundy’s share of the vote).
  • The attorney general’s race.
  • SJR 102, the constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to call itself back into session.
  • Legislative races in a few swing districts — in the Moscow area, in West Boise, in the Magic Valley and the Pocatello area.
  • The trustee races for the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College.

I hope you’ll check in through the night, and watch all of our coverage. Sadie Dittenber will lead our coverage of the state races, focusing on the superintendent’s race. Carly Flandro will cover the school elections — including the $250 million bond issue in Idaho Falls.

Kevin Richert

About 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 KIVI 6 On Your Side; "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]

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