Many politicos love to scoff at the Great State of Ada, a left-leaning hotbed that just doesnt see the world as the rest of Idaho does.
Its a durable zinger, but a misleading one. Once again, on Tuesday, the residents of the two Great States of Ada dutifully cast their votes.
In the aggregate, Ada County again skewed to the left of the rest of Idaho. Some evidence from the 2012 election:
Mitt Romney received 53.5 percent of the presidential vote in Ada County, compared to 64.5 percent statewide.
Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the rejected K-12 overhaul pushed by state schools superintendent Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter, fared slightly worse in Ada, with the no vote running at least 2.2 percent higher on all three laws.
HJR 2, the amendment to designate hunting, fishing and trapping as constitutionally protected rights, received 66.3 percent backing in Ada County. The statewide tally was 73.4 percent.
Those totals tell only part of the story. Dig deeper, and you see sharp differences between Boise and the rest of the state and even between Boise and the rest of Ada County.
In the 2nd Congressional District, encompassing much of Boise, Democrat Nicole LeFavour carried Ada County, at 52.4 percent. Elsewhere in this Eastern Idaho district, she pulled 27.9 percent of the vote, losing to GOP incumbent Mike Simpson. LeFavour is well-known in Ada County, having served Boises North End in the Legislature for eight years. Even factoring home-field advantage into the equation, the gap between her numbers is startling.
Republican incumbent Raul Labrador got 64.8 percent of the vote in Ada Countys share of the 1st Congressional District, which includes Meridian, Eagle and Kuna. Like LeFavour, Labrador has Ada County roots; he represented the Eagle area in the Legislature. He fared better in Ada County on Tuesday, but not by too much; elsewhere in the 1st District, Labrador rang up 62.3 percent of the vote en route to an easy re-election. In this race, Ada County voters were pretty much in line with the rest of a district running from the Owyhee Canyonlands to the Canadian border.
Legislative District 18 is once again all-Democrat. South Boise voters ousted two Republicans, Sen. Mitch Toryanski and Julie Ellsworth, replacing them, respectively, with former House member Branden Durst and Janie Ward-Engelking. Consider this: Democrats hold only 20 seats in a 105-member Legislature. Twelve of those Democrats come from Boise and Garden Citys Districts 16, 17, 18 and 19.
Elsewhere in Ada County, Republicans swept the legislative races. The GOP held West Boises District 15, although the margins suggest this is a competitive district. West Ada County remained reliably Republican, with GOP candidates rolling up landslide margins more or less in line with Canyon or Kootenai counties.
None of this is new. Its merely reinforced by another election. But heres where it complicates public policy matters.
When the Legislature reconvenes in January for the first session after redistricting Ada County will have added numerical clout. Twenty-seven lawmakers will come from Ada County, up from 24. Another 12 lawmakers will come from Canyon County, up from 10 in 2012.
Theoretically, this should give Ada County and the Treasure Valley increased power but only if Republican and Democratic lawmakers can work together. And on Tuesday, 17 of Ada Countys 27 lawmakers won with better than a 60 percent majority, or ran unopposed. That doesnt exactly give winners a built-in incentive to collaborate.
These election results dont render bipartisanship impossible only difficult. Such is life in the Great States of Ada.
THE STATUS QUO
Of all of Tuesdays election oddities, this may top the list.
In 2013, Republicans will control 28 of 35 seats in the state Senate, and 57 of 70 seats in the House.
Precisely the same as 2012.
The GOP offset its losses in District 18 by picking up a Senate seat in Bannock County and a House seat in the Magic Valley.
Consider everything that has unfolded since the 2010 elections. The GOP held a historic closed primary. Legislative districts were redrawn. Two legislative sessions were marked by emotional debates over Lunas education overhaul and the ultrasound bill. In spite of all these variables, the legislative balance of power didnt shift at all. Strange.
Heres the breakdown from our fall 2012 endorsements. We endorsed in 45 elections and ballot measures. Statesman-endorsed candidates or ballot positions won in 31 races, a 68.9 percent rate.
Again, the goal of endorsements is not to try to predict election outcomes. Our editorial board researches the candidates and the ballot measures, and makes endorsements that we believe are in the best interests of the state and community.
Another statistic: The Statesman endorsed in 35 partisan elections, endorsing 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats.
Kevin Richert: 377-6437, Twitter: @KevinRichert