Today is the primary election, and die-hard operatives like me will be anxiously awaiting the results. There will be live coverage on TVW starting at 8:00 pm (you can watch on TV or online), and the Secretary of State's web site will also be posting returns.
Political junkies will immediately jump to conclusions, but it's important we temper our enthusiasm. Only a fraction of the ballots will actually be counted tonight, and it may not be until next week that we actually know the outcome in some races. [Note: I will now resist the temptation to go on a rant about county auditors who seemingly only count ballots when they feel like it.]
Probably the single most interesting primary race is the 17th LD House, Pos. 1, contest where incumbent Rep. Jim Dunn (R) is being challenged by Joseph James (R) and Tim Probst (D). Dunn hasn't bothered to campaign at all. He hasn't raised any money, he hasn't knocked on any doors, and he hasn't attended any public forums. The only question is will his name familiarity carry him through the primary, or has James waged a strong enough campaign to knock Dunn off. If Dunn loses, the general election shapes up as a contest between two viable candidates. If Dunn wins, Probst's chances of victory in November improve significantly.
The following is one hack's list of the rest of the more compelling races to watch. [Note: I'm putting an asterisk by the candidates WFSE has endorsed.]
This is an open seat, and the candidates are Allan Martin (R), *Jim McIntire (D), and ChangMook Sohn (D).
Supreme Court, Pos. 3
This race will be decided in the primary as incumbent *Mary Fairhurst (NP) faces a challenge from Michael Bond (NP).
Supreme Court, Pos. 4
Incumbent *Charles Johnson (NP) faces challenges from James Beecher (NP) and Frank Vulliet (NP). It's possible this race will be decided tonight as well, as neither of Johnson's opponents have waged much of a campaign.
2nd LD Senate
Republicans Randi Becker and Kelly Mainard are both vying to challenge incumbent *Marilyn Rasmussen (D).
2nd LD House, Pos. 1
Three Democrats have filed against incumbent Jim McCune (R): JeanMarie Christenson, Chuck Collins and *Ray Harper.
6th LD House, Pos. 1
Republicans Mel Lindauer and Kevin Parker are waging a heated battle for the right to challenge incumbent *Don Barlow (D).
8th LD House, Pos. 1
Four Republicans and one Democrat are on the ballot for an open seat: Rick Jansons (R), Brad Klippert (R), Carol Moser (D), *Skip Novakovich (R) and Steve Simmons (R).
14th LD House, Pos. 2
Another open seat, another laundry list of candidates: Scott Hess (R), Norm Johnson (R), Bob McLaughlin (R), Aubrey Reeves (R), J.J. Sandlin (R), Al Schweppe (R) and *Vickie Ybarra (D).
16th LD House, Pos. 2
Three Republicans are seeking to oppose incumbent *Bill Grant (D) in the general: Tom Cornell, Bill Jesernig and Terry Nealey.
20th LD Senate
Incumbent *Dan Swecker (R) is opposed by Republicans Neal Kirby and Ted Shannon, as well as Democrat Chuck Bojarski. Reports from the district are that Bojarski isn't really campaigning, although the base Democratic vote is probably enough to carry him through the primary regardless. If not, this could be a hotly contested general election.
35th LD House, Pos. 1
Four candidates have filed for this open seat: Herb Baze (R), *Daryl Daugs (D), Fred Finn (D) and Randy Neatherlin (R).
40th LD Senate
Seven candidates have filed for this open seat, but the only ones who are actively campaigning are *Ken Henderson (D), Kevin Ranker (D) and *Steve Van Luven (R). Van Luven is virtually certain to advance, but Henderson and Ranker have been waging a hard-fought battle for the Democratic nomination, and I have no idea who will prevail. "Salmon Yoga Party" candidate Timothy (Cleaver) Stoddard will, sadly, be eliminated tonight. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
PS: Write-in candidates have emerged against Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49) and Rep. Tami Green (D-28), so we'll also be watching to see if either of these WFSE-endorsed incumbents end up with opponents on the general election ballot.