Ehlert: It's nearly election season

rehlert@idahostatesman.comMarch 16, 2014 

Just as the seasons and sports are transitioning, so is the world of Idaho politics in what promises to be a telling, if not profound, year.

Before we start counting down the days until Christmas, we will embrace a May 20 primary and Nov. 4 general election, out of which might emerge a new gear from which Idaho will face the future. Will it be reverse, neutral or full speed ahead?

We have an efficient and reliable source to help us navigate with Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's www.sos.idaho.gov website, which can tell you who is running, who can vote and the important dates leading up to these contests. Friday was one of those dates - the filing deadline for candidates and the last day many of you had a chance to change your party affiliation. (Go to the secretary of state site, choose "Elections, Lobbyists and Campaign Disclosure" and select "Party Affiliation" to see.)

Though there could be some last-minute stumbling blocks, the Legislature is poised to fully transition from lawmakers to candidates (some had election distraction disease throughout) by the end of the week - or certainly by the end of the month. The same is true for all other offices, ranging from the federal to the constitutional state offices to the local races.

I think it is unfortunate some of the most critical issues were the least discussed in this legislative session. I am satisfied there were gains in education reform in regard to funding, but I want to hear more about how our gubernatorial candidates feel about Common Core/Idaho Core Standards, Medicaid expansion/Obamacare in Idaho, and prison reform/management.

I have asked Republican gubernatorial candidates to write us a series of Guest Opinions highlighting their views on these issues. Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Russ Fulcher and Harley Brown have said they will participate. Walt Bayes, a late entrant, will be invited as well. If they do, we'll run their opinions on Common Core/Idaho Core Standards next Sunday in Insight, and the other topics on subsequent weeks.

We hope to do the same in as many other competitive races - meaning there is more than one candidate - as possible.

The Statesman editorial and newsroom departments are formalizing and finalizing their plans for election coverage this week - keeping in mind that early voting in Ada Country, for instance, begins April 28, which is only 43 days from today.

Just as we did for the municipal elections, we'll be providing online options for candidates to supply us with the information they want voters to know.

Stay tuned.

Robert Ehlert is the Statesman's editorial page editor. Contact him at 377-6437, or on Twitter @IDS_HelloIdaho.

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